Lock and load baby!
I've had force feedback devices before, such as a joystick that was pretty much useless for anything but flight sims. But what NOVINT have brought to the table here is by no means an evolution of the force feedback joystick. It's much different!
This concept has been redesigned from the ground up to really give you a perspective based control over the environment, either through an FPS game, a flight simulation or even 3D object manipulation and design.
First things first, let's have a look at the specifications of this device fresh from the manufacturer's site:
3D Touch Workspace: 4" x 4" x 4"
Force Capabilities: 2 lbs
Position Resolution: 400 dpi
Quick Disconnect Handle: 1 second change time
Communication Interface: USB 2.0
Size: 9" x 9" x 9"
Weight: 6 lbs
Power: 30 watts, 100V-240V,50Hz-60Hz
What's of most interest to us is the 3D Touch Workspace, giving us 4 cubic inches of freedom to move around in. This is generally greater than the extent you can comfortably move your hand at the wrist in free-space, so there is a lot of room to play with.
Force Capabilities will tell you how hard the unit can push and pull your hand around; and unless you have some sort of iron wrist from too much ………...gaming ………...you will find your hand jerked around by the physics reactions from the environment.
The DPI resolution is nothing to write home about, but when you are controlling motion in a three dimensional space, resolution is the least of your concerns.
The quick disconnect handle is worth mentioning as well. With a simple pinch of two tabs you can quickly pop in and out any different controllers, from the ball to the pistol grip. Unfortunately for now there are only the two grips available, but NOVINT is currently working and researching new interface paradigms to blow your mind and increase your interaction experience.
It's good to know that the company is actively supporting companies to implement their device, with SDK easily available and forthcoming F-Gen drivers which will make the device compatible with every game. In the mean time you will just have to play some current favourites such as Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead and Battlefield 2!