The Grifta is a modular gamepad system. It consists of a left unit, a right unit and a connector module. Together they create an advanced gamepad with superior performance and ergonomics.
The typical console gamepad has been developed over the years to be a compact “one size fits all” device. The ergonomic principle is: fingers and thumbs must be arranged around the flat plane of the main PCB (Printed Circuit Board). The PCB is the rigid electronic board upon which the joysticks and buttons are fixed to and it’s this unsophisticated sandwich construction layout that dictates the ergonomics. The tail is wagging the dog!
A Gamepad can be so much more
Our solution is to bring the gamepad components to the fingers and thumbs. The triggers, buttons, joystick, and D-Pad are placed to suit the ergonomics of the human hand, and not for the convenience of a simple manufacturing package.
This approach increases the costs slightly but the result is speed and comfort. If it fits, you’re faster.
We believe that “one size fits all” is just a myth and that’s why the Grifta has soft silicon rubber handgrips, that come in three sizes to ensure your thumbs are in exactly the right position. Once again, if it fits, you’re faster.
We are also working on a “white knuckle” handgrip. It will come in a sachet and you can mould it to suit the shape of your own hand.
Classic console gaming is faster with a Grifta, because the D-Pad and ABXY buttons are precise mechanical components. Mechanical switches can be pushed way faster than soft rubber switches. Just ask any gamer with a mechanical keyboard.
The shoulder buttons are capacitive switches, placed right in front of your trigger finger, and they require the slightest of touches to engage. This layout is not only more comfortable it’s very fast, because instead of moving an index finger up and down which is not repeatably fast, it uses a backward and forward finger movement.
The basis of the Grifta system is a three piece gamepad, and it gives you three ways to play.
Configure your Grifta in keyboard mode and play with the accuracy of your favorite gaming mouse, without the need to sit hunched over a desk. The handgrip format allows room for eight extra buttons (four per side). These buttons are right underneath your thumbs, giving you unparalleled configuration flexibility.
If you like, why not break off your gamepad handcuffs. It's two units! You’re free to find a gaming position that suits you.
Two individual Grifta units snap together to create a no compromise gamepad.
The Grifta is not a concept or prototype
We've been working with our manufacturing partner in East Asia over the last 18 months to ensure the realisation of a robust product launch. The production tooling and electronic components for the left hand unit are complete. The first units have been produced and are ready for volume production.
The right hand unit is an exact mirror image of the left one, with one exception: the ABXY Button. There are a few cosmetic tweaks to be done to the injection moulding tools such as the surface texture. The PCBs also need a small amount of refinement, but nothing that will hold up our delivery schedule. Player feedback has pointed out that the thumb-sticks must be the concave type and not dome shaped.
The electronic components, D-Pad, and ABXY, are individual PCB mounted units, if some day you need a replacement component we will get one to you at a fair price.
The Grifta uses standard gamepad protocols
We have partnered-up with XIM Tech and ControllerMax, two of the industry’s leading console adapter manufacturers to ensure that the Grifta will work smoothly on your console.
An Apple version will be developed if and when we get the necessary MFI (Made For IPhone) licences and permissions.
The Stretch goals
Part of our stretch goals
One of the basic ambitions of our system was to unchain the power of the gamepad format, and to create a hardware platform for the development of point and shoot gesture gaming.
To transform the Grifta into a gesture gaming device just clip on the Infra-Red Antlers. This attachment tracks translational and rotational movements via three IR LEDs for pointing and shooting.
Initially we expect the Antlers to appeal to those who are already familiar with Infrared camera setups and IR tracking software (Freetrack, Opentrack etc.) It will also be very useful to those programmers who are developing input solutions for VR gaming. As soon as the sales figures permit, we will develop a software solution that allows you to replace thumb-stick functions with arm and hand gestures.
The Antler attachment is based on a tried and tested head tracking system, the kind that flight simulator enthusiasts have been using for almost a decade. Now with the availability of inexpensive high speed/high resolution camera IR-tracking it has become more relevant than ever. It’s the same kind of setup that enables the Oculus Rift DK2 to have low latency head tracking.
The Antlers require high power Infrared LEDs to overcome any light interference, even in the sunniest of rooms. Powering such LEDs via the Grifta or a very long cable isn’t practical; therefore the Antlers are equipped with integrated Li-Ion batteries. After three hours of gaming, just exchange the Antler module with a fully charged one. The Antlers modules are deceptively simple and inexpensive and will be supplied in packs of two, together with a charger.
Grifta and Virtual Reality
VR gaming is going to be huge, but the input methods are patchy. Using a standard keyboard whilst wearing a VR Headset, is far from ideal, because without sight contact to the keyboard even the most talented touch typists soon lose their keyboard orientation. A Grifta unit when configured as a keyboard (via Xpadder software) is intuitive and needs no sight contact, leaving the remaining hand free, to use a mouse or another Grifta with or without an Antler. This makes the Grifta a perfect match for Virtual Reality.
Part of our stretch goals
Combine the Magnetic Bridge module with the Antlers to create multi-mode input. Imagine playing Games like GTA with the ability to switch instantly between driving, flying and shooting, all with the familiarity of a standard gamepad.
Part of our stretch goals
A dual connection to Android sets-up in seconds. The left hand Grifta connects via 2.4 GHz and the right hand Grifta via Bluetooth. On your next long journey just snap in the telescopic attachment and your smartphone is now at eye level. Play, watch, or read for hours on end, but without shoulder and neck strain. Don't let your tech be a pain in the neck.
The Grifta Mobile Kit consists of a smartphone clip, a standard connector, a telescopic connector, and the mono adapter, all of which connect to the Bridge module or directly to a Grifta unit.
Control your smartphone with just one hand via a Grifta unit, leaving the other hand totally free. Alternatively use your free hand to guide a mouse, or hold a second Grifta and play split mode.
The Camera App
Very simple apps are being created to enable scrolling and selecting without the need to touch the screen. Right now we’re working on the final touches to our camera app for Android smartphone camera functions. Take a picture; shoot a movie; zoom in and out; all with only one hand, leaving your other hand free, so you can keep a firm grip on the baby buggy, dog leash or a microphone etc. If we reach our stretch goal for the mobile kit, the telescopic module turns the Grifta into the must- have selfie accessory.
Part of our stretch goals
The Tablet module is joined to the Grifta units via flexible ball joint clamps. This connection method prevents the tablet from being stressed during animated gameplay and also allows the tablet viewing angle to be adjustable. The tablet module is extremely light thanks to the ball joint clamp configuration and can hold tablets up to 9 inches in size.
Part of our stretch goals
The Grifta Board is able to extend to waist height and it will allow you to play in a standing position. Kill zombies, not your lower back. Just place the Grifta Board in front of your Screen and experience immersive gameplay whilst maintaining a healthy posture.
The Grifta Board has a thin base made from rigidized steel, enabling it to slide under any piece of furniture. The Grifta Board can be adjusted to a height and angle that suits your gaming style. Included is a sliding tablet stand, a combination that turns your favourite couch or armchair in to the ultimate game zone.
And now we need your support!
We need YOU, the Kickstarter Community. With your support we can produce the Bridge Connector and the right-hand unit and produce a gamepad without compromises.
Risks and challenges
After almost twenty years of design experience gained by working for some of Europe’s leading car manufacturers, I have learned many lessons and some of them were learned the hard way. One of the most important lessons was to learn how to “fail fast, fail often and fail early” because you can’t push any design boundaries without making mistakes, and by making mistakes you learn! Sometimes the end user or customer will use a part or product, in a way that you or your design team has overlooked. Such mistakes are expensive and time consuming. This is the reason why we took the left Grifta unit to the production ready stage. It enabled us to test real parts, in real situations with real users. Now we can order large volumes with confidence. The luxury of having symmetrical products means that we can simply reflect the injection moulding tool data to produce the tools for right hand Grifta production, ensuring no unwelcome surprises.
The biggest risk in the Grifta project could be the unforeseen delays caused by the component suppliers and the production capacity of our manufacturing partner. Also there are risks in ramping up production to large volumes in a short space of time. A new product often needs new assembly procedures, new test procedures, which all take time. Sometimes a new product requires a refining of all the assembly steps to avoid production bottlenecks. Often custom made jigs and fixtures are required to ensure the quality of assembly. All such eventualities are as yet unknown, as they are for any new product, but in our experience such risk and difficulties are all solvable, with experience, motivation and the determination of the people involved in this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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