Why Linear Actuators Are Replacing Traditional Rumble Haptics for Gaming

Why Linear Actuators Are Replacing Traditional Rumble Haptics for Gaming

The bulky attachment on the bottom of the [already bulky] N64 controller felt like it could have been a flash in the pan gimmick. But rumble proved to have staying power gamers wanted. How-To Geek has this breakdown on the different rumble methods and the move away from spinning motors.

However, VR controllers, the PlayStation 5 DualSense, and the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons don’t have these rumble motors. Instead, they use a device known as a Linear Actuator also known as a Linear Resonant Actuator, or sometimes a “voice coil motor”.

In a linear actuator, the voice coil drives a spring that has a resonant frequency. When driven at its resonant frequency, the spring moves a mass within the actuator with maximum strength. The further from that resonant frequency the coil is driven, the less efficient it becomes. Linear actuators can only be driven within a specific frequency range centered around that optimal resonant frequency of the spring. Going too far outside of that range means the vibration needs too much power to be usable.

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1 Comment

  1. I am looking for a linear actuator , 80MM/sec speed, with Hall effect encoder for position feedback. The actuator would be active every 2 minutes, with rest periods of 2-5 minutes. Will this type of operation affect the life of the motor ??

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