A magnetically levitated hammer for customizable haptics: Page 3 of 4

January 30, 2019 //By Julien Happich
A magnetically levitated hammer for customizable haptics
Santa Clara-based startup Nanoport announced it is now ready for the commercialization of a novel type of haptic actuators, whose feel and characteristics can be fully customized, both through software and hardware.

Comparing the TacHammer with other haptic solutions such as eccentric rotating mass (ERM) vibration motors, coil- and spring-based linear resonant actuators (LRA) or even piezoelectric actuators, the company highlighted again the high g-force output (up to 23.7 g for the Carlton) thanks to a robust impact mechanism, combined with what it claims to be the widest frequency response available in haptics, ranging from single-digit Hertz values to 300Hz.

Describing the force curve profile of the actuator, Kyle Skippon in charge of mechanical engineering at Nanoport Technology explained that while traditional mode LRAs or ERMs had more of a sinusoid, the impact side gave off a sharp curve akin to high frequency piezoelectric actuators.

“While the sharp impact profile can be used to create textures, it can be combined with softer more rounded vibrations to create sophisticated haptics. These aspects really set our technology apart and the two combined provide a large library of effects” he said.

Skippon gave as an example a virtual side-button implemented in a demonstration platform, with the exact feel of a radio cassette player mechanical button.

The full TacHammer Developer Kit complete with
customizable units, assorted impact materials and
stackable spacers.

“When people squeeze the device, they feel a movement on the side of the device and get the mechanical click” he said.  Another example more suited to gaming, the haptic actuator could simulate the reload click of a shotgun. For higher impacts, the hammer inside the actuator can be driven away from the impact side (with a short pulse) to increase travel distance just before a high intensity hit pulse.

Together with the TacHammer Carlton, the company has released a TacHammer Developer Kit complete with customizable units, assorted impact materials and stackable spacers for customizing the impact feel and the travel distance of the hammer. This with software and sample code enables developers to tune and create their own signature haptic feels.

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