Researchers in Germany are working on new force-feedback technology with gamers in mind.
Called muscle-propelled force feedback, the system does not have any motors, which means the device can be miniaturized as an add-on for smartphones and other mobile devices.
The team at the Hasso Plattner Institute is using electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to mimic signals sent by the central nervous system to activate muscle groups. Small wired electrodes are attached to the forearm, and a jolt could go straight to the hand muscle to make it contract; the user could fight it by using another muscle. The electrical stimulation would cause the user to involuntarily tilt the device. The user would feel the sensation of needing to fight this force, and in countering it, he would perceive force feedback.
The prototype fits on the back of a mobile phone. The device uses less power than vibrating motors, so the battery would not drain as quickly as in motorized force-feedback systems.
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