A Video Game Controller that Stimulates with Hot and Cold Sensations

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First we got wireless video game controls, then motion sensing controllers, and now even a controller-free video game interface. But the next stage of human-computer interaction could be controllers that add hot and cold sensations to users’ simulated experiences.

An experimental new video game controller just revealed at this week’s SIGGRAPH conference includes a pair of thermoelectric panels on each side of a controller. Those surfaces heat or cool rapidly in reflection of what’s happening in the game, offering players a new sensory connection to what’s happening on the screen.

The controller temperature doesn’t swing wildly – less than 10 degrees in either direction in just five seconds – but apparently a small sensation is all that’s needed to add a rich layer of sensory experience to a virtual reality environment. No word on whether any major console makers are eyeballing such technology, but the idea is pretty cool. After all, remember how thrilling it was when our gaming peripherals started vibrating?

Technology Review