Force Feedback Mouse Really Shakes Things Up

This is a very exciting time for those who like to spend their downtime exploring virtual worlds. The graphics in some big-budget titles are easily approaching photorealism, and immersive multi-channel sound can really make you believe you’ve been transported to another place or time. With another generation or two of GPU development and VR hardware, the line between gaming and reality is bound to get awful blurry.

That said, we’re still a far way off from the holodeck aboard the Enterprise. A high-end PC and the latest in VR can fool your eyes and ears, but that still leaves your other senses out of the fun. That’s why [Jatin Patel] has developed this clever force-feedback mouse using an array of solenoids.

The idea is pretty simple: a Python program on the computer listens for mouse click events, and tells an attached Arduino to fire off the solenoids when the player pulls the virtual trigger. It’s naturally not a perfect system, as it would seem that clicking in the game’s menus would also start your “gun” firing. But as you can see in the video after the break, when it works, it works very well. The moving solenoids don’t just vibrate the mouse around, the metallic clacking actually accentuates the gun sound effects from the game.

With this kind of tactile feedback and an omnidirectional treadmill to keep us moving, we’d be pretty close to fooling our senses into thinking we’re actually somewhere else. Which frankly, sounds quite appealing right about now.

[Thanks to Mason for the tip.]

21 thoughts on “Force Feedback Mouse Really Shakes Things Up

  1. If there are relays instead of FET’s there will be enough lag to spoil the fun. Get a solid state line voltage relay. Get an electric nail/stapler gun, add mass to it’s end and wire it’s guts for some heavier kickback. The nail gun may have a switching driver instead of brute force spst trigger, which makes it easier.

    All those solenoids are in a weapon’s sense unbalanced maybe that’s like the real thing? It would be great to have an inertial sensing “gun” where kick would effect aim like real better than on a desktop. Never mind the 15 amp cable and connection.

  2. This is going to be harsh on the finger joints after aa few hours. I wonder. Mini TENS machine built into the mouse. Full body suit? Maybe a half dozen of those joke shocking pens that run on a couple of watch batteries. :D

  3. If you use the plunger as a switch, you can get away with much less code. When the plunger pulls in it disconnects the power and the spring retuns it.
    Then it acts like an electric bell. Just apply power and it’ll bounce. Add a capacitor and it’ll slow it down.

    1. Yes, there were several Force Feedback devices built back then. The first was the CH ForceFX joystick. It used an API known as IForce. Games that supported it had force feedback effects. But in addition to that, there was a small utility program that came with it that enabled you to download “effects” into the joystick itself, and those effects could be tied to certain buttons on the joystick. That way you could kinda add force feedback effects into games that didn’t even support it. Later microsoft made a force feedback stick, added support in DirectX and later killed it off, just like they seem to do with every interesting new technology. They take it over, run everybody else out of business, then kill it and bury it.

  4. Here’s a though…a rumble device when you move the cursor to the edge of the screen, and it gives you haptic feedback stating that you’ve reached a border. Just a though.

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