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Researchers use electric current to create forced feedback in mobile games

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Researchers at Germany's Hasso Plattner Institute are re-introducing the lost art of forced feedback into gaming by experimenting with electrical currents.

According to Ph.D. student Pedro Lopes, the use of force feedback in gaming has all but disappeared with the advent of mobile gaming. Comparatively, this aspect of gaming was seen regularly in the arcade era of gaming, in which players could experience things such as an in-game car "drifting on gravel or something like that, and you would feel physical forces."

To recreate this experience, Lopes states the research group "just deliver a little medically compliant current which causes your muscle to actuate and you feel like you're being actuated."

The prototype, which is currently on show at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Paris this week, is built using off-the-shelf parts including a medical-grade signal generator that produces the electrical current. The result is a slightly uncomfortable sensation, according to IDG News Service.

Lopes hopes to slim down the current prototype, re-designing it to fit inside a bracelet. "I'd just have a bracelet with electrodes inside," he said. "[It would be] all Bluetooth communication and you can just have two gaming bracelets with force feedback."