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Immersion Counters Sony With TouchSense Vibration

Immersion Counters Sony With TouchSense Vibration

June 19, 2006 | By Jason Dobson

June 19, 2006 | By Jason Dobson
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Immersion Corporation, which is currently in the process of suing Sony over alleged misuse of controller rumble patents, has officially announced its TouchSense vibration technology for next-generation consoles.

This technology supplies a wider range of vibration effects that "attempt to offer greater realism than that which is offered on existing console platforms", and is clearly a counter to Sony's E3 claims that the PlayStation 3 controller will lack a rumble feature - due, they say, to hardware interference caused by its recently-announced gyroscopic controls.

The company explains: "The new TouchSense technology is compatible with motion control and tilt sensing that allow players to control certain game actions by moving or tilting a handheld controller. Because the speed at which a user moves the controller is much slower than the frequencies generated by TouchSense technology, the two signals can be differentiated using filtering and other techniques. Immersion also offers engineering services to implement the technology within a particular console system."

The new TouchSense technology also supplies improved synchronization with audio and on-screen graphic events, backward compatibility for vibration effects in current games, and, according to Immersion: "powerful and intuitive authoring tools that allow developers to create a much wider range of effects in less time."

Immersion particularly references the new technology's ability to work alongside motion control and tilt sensing, something Immersion CEO Vic Viegas particularly referenced in a recent Gamasutra interview, when he commented: “If what [Sony is] saying is in fact the reason why [the controller will not have vibration], I’ve offered them numerous solutions to the problem... I don’t believe it’s a very difficult problem to solve, and Immersion has experts that would be happy to solve that problem for them."

"Next-generation realistic sound and graphics are very impressive and help extend the illusion of the game," added Viegas in official comments made today. "But to more closely emulate the real world and provide an even more immersive experience, you also need to engage the sense of touch. Gamers like vibration feedback in their console games today and have definitely come to expect it. Our new technology supplies a dramatic improvement in the action that gamers feel. We believe it is an innovation the market deserves to have in next-generation consoles."


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