CES - Zeus Day 4 - Novint Feature

CES wrapped up today and to be honest, things really wrapped up yesterday.  There wasn't a whole lot of activity around the venue today as most people had covered all of the interesting exhibits and many of the vendors were thinking more about packing up than showing off their new products.  The truth is, there was still so much that we didn't cover - such as the Falcon Controller from Novint.

I would be surprised if you've heard of Novint before and have seen anything about their Falcon controller.  This controller looks very different from other controllers you've seen, and offers some interesting features.

Falcon Controller
Falcon Controller 

The Falcon controller looks like something out of Matrix, and would be a little freaky if it was chasing you through the air.  The idea behind the Falcon controller is that it provided a very real tactile feedback based on the physics of the objects in a game.  In the demo that we sat through, they demonstrate pushing a ball through a viscous substance and lifting objects with a virtual "rubber band".  While this all appears to be good and nice, the real application in games is very interesting.

 

Flock of Falcons
Flock of Falcons 

To demonstrate how it works in the real world, they fired up Half-Life 2 and I ran through most of a level.  At first, I really questioned the accuracy of the product and how hard it would be to practically use in a game.  I was very surprised at how easy it was to use, and how it impacted the overall feel of the game.  It provided a very different experience to Half-Life 2 and I believe I would actually enjoy playing it again.

Hands On
Hands On 

When playing a game, you can feel the different effects of each weapon, and when you're getting shot, you can feel where you are getting hit in relationship to the controller.  It is really a remarkable experience that we want to play with more as the product nears completion date.  Right now the biggest limitation of this product is software support.  It plays off the in-game physics, but needs a patch or a mod to make it work properly.  Things are still early yet as the controller is not scheduled to be released until later 1Q or early 2Q.  The controller will also ship with different sized grips for different people.