Immersion hired me directly out of school to be production testing engineer. Instead, I quickly became the lead product demonstration designer and one of the most productive inventors at the company.
In order to encourage device manufacturers to incorporate HD haptics into their products, we made sales demonstrators. The goal was to package these in such a way that they looked “off the shelf”. The example above integrated all three of the major mobile haptics actuators at the time (2008) into a single smartphone. As you strummed the chords on the screen the phone would simulate the string pluck in the finger, and the vibration of a guitar body in the hand.
Because Immersion relied on its patent portfolio we were constantly doing R&D into new forms of haptics. Above is a figure from the patent we were awarded concerning the use of piezo electric actuators moving a screen laterally in order to simulate a vertical displacement. This was possible because of the brain’s inability to discern between the two motions at small scales.
This patent concerns methods for suspending hapticly enabled screens. Haptics require the transmission of vibration so, in order to create a sensation only in the tip of a finger, the screen has to be isolated from the body of the device. We did significant research into figuring out how to accomplish that in a way that was space efficient and resulted in a device that was satisfying to use.
This patent concerns a shape shifting game controller that can also simulate impact forces. The Nintendo Wii was a full blown craze at the time and we wanted to add more realism to the games. By designing methods to change the shape of the handle, as well as create impact forces internally, we could really make it feel like you caught a ball or hit a home run. It really took Wii Sports to a whole other level!