Evolution of the Console Controller – Novint Falcon (2007)

The Novint Falcon is a force feedback PC controller intended to replace a mouse – the name is a reference to the rodent-eating predator. The Falcon is marketed as a “3D Touch Controller” because it can simulate the feel of objects in 3D. To work, the device’s large housing sits on a table or desk while the user holds one of several interchangeable grips attached to the arms extending from the housing. The player can move the grip in 3 dimensions (up/down, left/right, in/out). Motors inside the Falcon push and pull on the arms with varying strength producing force feedback effects and the ability to “feel” objects. At CES 2007 the Falcon was demonstrated simulating various geometric shapes, “sticky” surfaces, and Valve’s Half-Life 2. The Falcon can also be used for professional applications other than video games.

While many controllers have “rumble” effects, no other home game controller can perform precise 3D simulation of objects while accepting 3D input. The Wii, Kinect, and PS Move all offer somewhat similar motion based input, but none offer force feedback like the Falcon’s.

As with any state of the art technology, there is a lag in the development of games which take advantage of the Falcon’s unique interface, but there is an ever-expanding catalog of games using the Falcon’s technology.

Up to Esoteric and Experimental – Back to Neurosky Mindwave – Forward to Nintendo Zapper

Gift of Novint Technologies, Inc., 2012.023.001