News from September 2010
September 10, 2010
A New Gaming Glove Controller That Lucas Barton Would Love
By Ty McMahan
After demonstrating his skills playing Nintendo game “Rad Racer,” Lucas Barton in the movie “The Wizard” exclaims in a perfectly smooth, yet sinister delivery as the antagonist of a cheesy ‘80’s teen movie, “I love the Power Glove. It’s so bad.”
“The Wizard,” essentially a feature-film advertisement for Nintendo starring Fred Savage, has developed a cult following, mostly from those tuned into video gaming culture. The Power Glove that Barton found so “bad” (in a Michael Jackson way, rather than a negative connotation) went on to be considered one of the worst video game controllers in history, even despite its flashy cameo in the movie.
Although it never gained much traction, consumers were intrigued with the device. And now, with the newly introduced Peregrine, consumers can game by glove again.
Developed by Iron Will Innovations Inc., the Peregrine is a glove embedded with 30 customizable touch points with diverse applications to the point that its creator doesn’t even know exactly how it will be used in the future. But with a fresh $5 million in funding, Iron Will is on its way to commercializing the product.
Currently, the $149 product is geared towards the gaming market, much like the famed Power Glove, which garnered buzz but ultimately failed for its lack of functionality. The Peregrine controls actions in complex PC games and programs. Iron Will says it’s most effective in real-time strategy games like “Heroes of Newerth” and massively multiplayer online role-playing games like “World of Warcraft.”
It is designed to replace or, in some cases, augment the keyboard for game play. The glove allows users to trigger commands in games just by touching different points on their fingers with their thumb.
Micro-wound, stainless steel, spring contact wires run up the face and back down the side of each finger on the Peregrine. The glove’s magnetic connector pod senses where exactly a user is touching along the contact wires. When a user calibrates the Peregrine, they tell it which area on the wire they want to touch, creating a Touch Point. When the thumb makes contact with a specific Touch Point, the pod instantly triggers the function assigned.
“It’s faster, more comfortable and more fun,” Founder and Chief Technology Officer Brent Baier said. “It’s a more immersive experience.”
Baier started developing the Peregrine in 2004 while still a college student in Lloydminster, Canada, where the company is now based.
“It came to me one night in an instant,” Baier said. “I was a college student and would go on long walks and think. I thought about a way people could communicate in a different way. The hand is the most powerful tool humans have. I thought there should be a way to type and communicate without keyboards. The genesis was that users can interact with touches of their hands.”
While gaming is the current commercial focus for the product, Baier said it is being tested by the military to control heads-up displays. He also sees potential applications in drafting, medicine and mobile phones.
The company recently closed $3 million in Series A funding. In addition, the company raised $2 million of a Series B round that remains open. Baier said investment is from individuals and unnamed companies in the U.S. and Canada.
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