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.

Read more!


Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



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 ??

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.