Feedback is an important component of computer games. A recent development at the University of Portsmouth represents a completely new type of in-game interaction. A group of students led by James Bruton built a robot that hits gamers for making mistakes in VR.
The new development is intended to make fighting games — with imitation of first-person unarmed combat — more realistic. This group of scientists created a device that attacks players when they miss an attack to add variety and intensity to the gameplay.
The machine is a platform with two manipulators. It is equipped with Vive sensors which track the user’s movements. The machine doesn’t hit the user, targeting instead a special shield in their hands, which serves both as a joystick and a barrier against attacks. This way, the user’s health is not threatened. For increased safety, the manipulators are covered with a pair of boxing gloves, which minimize the risk of real damage.
The robot is completely synchronized with the game, so the users experience a fight with a character on the screen rather than the robot itself. The real punches into the shield serve as an addition to the game, not the main part of it.
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