AIR BLASTER 9000

A prototype designed to provide haptic feedback while in use in a first-person shooter (FPS) environment, increasing user immersion, engagement and satisfaction in a gaming context.
Overview
Team Size:
5
Role:
Related Work Research
Product Design
Prototyping & Testing
Duration:
Feb 23 - Jun 23

- The Problem

Current VR Controllers unable to provide haptic feedback


In the current state of VR technology, users are unable to experience tactile sensations such as stiffness, weight, texture etc., hindering a fully immersive experience.

The lack of haptic feedback from interactions in the virtual space leave room to increase user immersion and engagement.

- Solution

A prototype designed with an air compressor system, a heat pad and vibration to provide

pneumatic, thermal, and tactile feedback.


- Process

Original System Design


The original plan for the Air Blaster 9000 was to simulate a full body recoil, simulating the feeling of each gun shot. However, due to:

  • Lack of air pressure provided by the compressor
  • The need of purchasing more components
  • Limited budget given

To accurately mimic this feedback was out of the current monetary scope.


Current System Design


Learning from the limits of the compressor, different methods of providing the feedback of shooting a gun were tested. From here, the design shifted from providing only pneumatic whole-body realistic feedback to area-specific integrated feedback. The full setup is shown below:


1. Pneumatic System Design


The pneumatic system of the Air Blaster 9000 is based on an air compressor system controlled through the Arduino Uno in combination with a servo motor. The speed of the air compressor is controlled via an analogue pin, with the air compressor running slower with smaller guns in comparison or larger ones.


The nozzle is mounted to the arm of a continuously moving servomotor, ensuring the air is not only focused on one point on the back of the user's hand.

2. Thermal System Design


The thermal system is based on a heating pad attached onto the Quest 2 controller mount. It is mounted to the inside of the right hand, providing thermal feedback onto the palm of the user. This simulates the slow heating of the gun and quick cool down, heating up to higher temperatures and for longer times according to the frequency with which the user is shooting in the VR simulation and the current gun type selected.

3. Tactile System Design


The tactile system of the Air Blaster 9000 is based on the vibration motors within the Quest 2 controllers. The vibration changes in intensity and duration of vibration according to the type of gun currently being used in the Unity simulation.




Implementation


Meta Quest 2
Arduino Uno
Unity

Implementation of the Air Blaster 9000 was based on the Meta Quest 2 headset and controllers, Arduino Uno for actuation, and Unity to create VR environments. Each of the haptic systems feed through the Arduino with Unity code, Arduino code, and Quest controller actions synchronising all feedback.

- Outcome

Other Applications

We believe that with some slight adjustments, our application can apply to other VR environments, such as different weather patterns on a user’s hand. For example, the heating element could be used to simulate hot environments, and our pneumatic air system could be used to simulate wind or rain droplets landing on the back of a user’s hand through rapid firings of compressed air in different areas.


Key Takeaways

  • Designing is an ongoing process. Learning from the limitations of our original system design, we had to redesign the haptic feedback provided by the controller. This pushed us to think further and keep testing until we were satisfied with the system design.
  • Trust yourself and your teammates. None of us have an electronic background, and we even struggled to light up an LED light bulb using the Arduino board at the beginning. However, after all the hard work and time we have spent, we managed to complete this entire project.
OTHER WORK