Elite Haptic Cockpit Interface

So I’ve been using the Oculus Rift all through the development period, I’ve spent a rather large amount of time playing .. erm researching in Elite Dangerous. As a long time lover of VR I was eager to fulfill some earlier wishes I had concerning creating believable immersive experiences and with VR the big problem left to overcome is haptics.

During the 90’s when I was doing a lot of study and research into VR and it’s applications I came across this problem time and again. No matter what lengths we go to to drive the sensory input for our sight and hearing we will always have a problem with haptics and with our vestibular system, with the two working on conjunction to provide us with a tonne of spatial sensory information.

Friends of mine may recall some long winded conversations on the topic, especially regarding the games system I designed..

Anyway this brought me to Elite, if anyone has seen the Elite cockpit you will know that it has the same cockpit layout for all ships (and for the SRV buggy). The flight controls are meant to relfect the HOTAs you find about the place for flight sims and there are a number of extra buttons and panels in the centre.

As a short project I have measured out the perceived width of the cockpit layout and constructed a physical layout of the controls that match the dimensions. The centre panels are cut from plywood with a re-purposed keyboard microcontroller running to a set of 3d printed button that match the in game button layout.

I am creating a video of the the finished system and will post it here shortly.