Buzz Editor: Immersion Releases MOTIV Haptics Platform

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You rarely notice haptics, but when it comes to human-computer interaction, they can make or break a device. That’s why Immersion (the leader in haptic feedback – basically little high-speed motors in phones and other devices that add a vibrational component to on-screen interaction) just announced a way to create amazing haptics for almost all Android phones.

Their MOTIV platform offers programmers and carriers a new way to add vibrational feedback to phones. For example, instead of a curt buzz when something explodes on screen, you can add special “macro” vibrations that turn the motor on and off at various frequencies, recreating the vibrations associated with an explosion. It’s a bit hard to describe, but think of an audio editor for buzzing motors.

The platform can also “mirror” the audio coming out of your programming automatically, adding little touches to music and UI elements. The haptics can also be themed, creating unique styles including themes like metallic, soft, and typewriter-like – each theme offering a different frequency and duration of vibration.

Here are the features that MOTIV adds to your Android experience:

Features of MOTIV Integrator include:
• UI Module: Integrates haptics into the Android OS user interface within a matter of minutes, eliminating engineering cycles while creating a superior user experience. UI Module inserts haptics into Android’s user interface through its view and notification frameworks, creating a consistent user experience throughout the mobile device, both in the user interface as well as downloaded applications which use the view and notification framework. Additionally, the UI Module provides a tailored experience by allowing users to adjust and personalize haptic effects.
• Theme Manager Module: Allows OEMs to select from a list of haptic themes that can be applied to the Android OS and mobile user interface. Themes range in levels of intensity and personality, and can be customized by the OEM or carrier, creating a distinct and differentiated mobile experience for consumers.
• Reverb Module: For applications not optimized for haptics by developers using the MOTIV SDK, OEMs can install the Reverb Module, which automatically inserts haptic feedback into applications by translating audio data into effects. Examples of applications that benefit from the Reverb Module include video and music playback enhanced by the sense of the music thumping reminiscent of a subwoofer effect, or a downloaded first person shooter game where the users feel the explosions and game play in their hands.

These modules can be baked into the OS itself or individual apps. The Reverb module is the easiest to use simply because it’s always on, adding feedback to various audio and design elements. The SDK, in turn, allows programmers to fine-tune haptic feedback in their apps, creating the ultimate buzz for users.

The platform will be officially announced at next week’s MWC.

Immersion Announces MOTIV™ Development Platform for Android
Immersion’s MOTIV™ Development Platform for Android delivers next-generation haptic effects to device manufacturers and application developers through automated tools

SAN JOSE, Calif., February XX, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Immersion Corporation (Nasdaq:IMMR), a leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, today announced the MOTIV™ Development Platform, designed to automate haptic integration into the Android OS and allow both OEMs and application developers to create differentiated and engaging user experiences with high quality tactile feedback. The first development platform of its kind, MOTIV provides the mobile ecosystem with access to the world of tactile interfaces, ushering in a new era of customizable touch effects to drive next-generation user interfaces.

“Immersion is focused on delivering high-definition haptic experiences to consumers by creating solutions that address the system-level challenges in designing haptics into a mobile interface,” said Dennis Sheehan, Immersion’s vice president of marketing. “While enabling technologies have evolved to provide high fidelity haptic sensations, utilization ultimately hinges upon ease of implementation. Today, haptics provides critical tactile feedback for typing and touch confirmation in touch screen phones and tablets, but it is a complex exercise to design haptics into a UI and applications. With the release of the MOTIV Development Platform, we are simplifying that process for the Android OS and providing the tools to create next-gen experiences such as personalized touch-based themes, games with tactile effects and multi-modal applications that engage the user’s sense of touch.”

The MOTIV Development Platform is comprised of two key elements, the MOTIV Integrator for OEMs and the MOTIV SDK for application developers:
MOTIV Integrator
The MOTIV Integrator offers a unique set of modules that provide build-time integration options for OEMs that automatically add haptics into the Android UI and applications and provides an easy way to customize the overall tactile feel of the device. MOTIV works in conjunction with Immersion’s TouchSense® technology, which has created crisp and realistic haptic effects in hundreds of millions of mobile phones to date. Features of MOTIV Integrator include:
• UI Module: Integrates haptics into the Android OS user interface within a matter of minutes, eliminating engineering cycles while creating a superior user experience. UI Module inserts haptics into Android’s user interface through its view and notification frameworks, creating a consistent user experience throughout the mobile device, both in the user interface as well as downloaded applications which use the view and notification framework. Additionally, the UI Module provides a tailored experience by allowing users to adjust and personalize haptic effects.
• Theme Manager Module: Allows OEMs to select from a list of haptic themes that can be applied to the Android OS and mobile user interface. Themes range in levels of intensity and personality, and can be customized by the OEM or carrier, creating a distinct and differentiated mobile experience for consumers.
• Reverb Module: For applications not optimized for haptics by developers using the MOTIV SDK, OEMs can install the Reverb Module, which automatically inserts haptic feedback into applications by translating audio data into effects. Examples of applications that benefit from the Reverb Module include video and music playback enhanced by the sense of the music thumping reminiscent of a subwoofer effect, or a downloaded first person shooter game where the users feel the explosions and game play in their hands.

MOTIV SDK
Expected to be available to application developers in March 2011, the MOTIV SDK provides an assortment of haptic design resources. These tools include the API, sample code, effect libraries with over 100 pre-designed effects, reference documentation, and a conversion layer that allows developers to easily and quickly incorporate specialized haptic effects into their Android applications. In addition, the MOTIV SDK includes a haptic effect design studio for advanced users.

“Nearly 90% of respondents from our recent consumer testing indicated that they would want high-definition haptics in their next mobile device, illustrating a clear preference for mobile devices with haptics and a phenomenal response to haptic-enabled applications,” explains Robert Lacroix, vice president of engineering at Immersion. “We are committed to developing tools that enable the broader mobile ecosystem access to Immersion’s expertise and taps into the burgeoning application development community. We’re excited to see innovations that result as developers and OEMs now have the freedom to easily integrate haptics into their UIs, applications and games.”

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