A project developed by mechanical engineers Florian Auté and Alexis Roseillier resulted in a 3D printed paddle, grip and holder for an Oculus Touch controller.
The grip replicates the feel of a real racket for use in the VR table tennis game Eleven.
Eleven was already available on PC VR but just launched on the Oculus Quest last week. The game offers realistic physics and environments that simulate the classic game of ping pong. The extreme light weight of a ping pong ball also makes the sport a good candidate to replicate in VR, as the haptic feedback provided is much less than, say, hitting a baseball or tennis ball.
One area that differs the most, though, is replicating the grip of a real table tennis paddle in VR. An Oculus Touch controller, or any other VR current controller, does not have the same grip, feel, orientation or weight as a real table tennis paddle. So modifications to the controller would be needed to make that happen.
To counter this problem, in January Florian Auté began prototyping a way to integrate an Oculus Touch controller with a standard table tennis paddle grip. Auté worked on the initial prototypes with his girlfriend as they focused on connecting an Oculus Touch controller to an existing paddle grip.
Auté then enrolled the help of friends Alexis Roseillier and his wife for their 3D printing knowledge and skills, and they began work on a 3D printed grip. Roseillier and Auté both studied at the same engineering school in France but they live in different countries, the Netherlands and Germany. Auté is a fan of Eleven but Roseillier was not interested in table tennis at the beginning of the project, according to Auté, but now that Roseillier tried their add-on he’s thinking of getting an Oculus Quest.
The final result is a 3D printed racket/paddle holder that securely holds an Oculus Touch controller, while also positioning the center of gravity to more closely match a real table tennis paddle.
According to the creators the total weight is around 167 grams (though weight might differ based on the printing material used and the type of AA battery in the Quest controller) and keeps the controller’s buttons accessible while locked into the 3D printed mount. The tracking remains stable while in the grip, according to Auté, and it can also be used with the table tennis shakehand grip, where your index finger is placed on the back of the paddle.
The user will need to adjust the orientation of the paddle in-game — Eleven allows that kind of customization — so that it matches the offset position of the controller when placed in the grip. We contacted the developers of Eleven and they said they are planning to add a custom preset in the game that will easily adjust the orientation of the simulated paddle to work with the grip without the need for manual alignment.
They posted the 3D model for the grip and it is available free on Thinigverse, an online library where users can upload the files for 3D models they’ve created. This allows others to download the files and print the models with a 3D printer themselves. You can download the grip on the Thingiverse listing now with instructions included on the page. It works with the second generation of Oculus Touch controllers which ship with both the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S headsets. An earlier 3D print was made by different creators for the original Oculus Rift Touch controllers.
Here’s a video of the new accessory recorded by the creators and originally posted to Reddit showing how it works:
The print requires a two M4 screws you should be able to get at a hardware store — one with a 10 mm thread length to lock the controller in place — and another with 35 mm thread length for the hinge.
A contact with a 3D printer is sending UploadVR Managing Editor Ian Hamilton two of the prints — one for a right Oculus Touch controller (same as the listing on Thingiverse) and another with a mirrored print for the left Oculus Touch controller. He’s left-handed but his family members are right-handed, so with two of the prints he and his family can use two Quests or a Quest and a Rift S to play table tennis together in their living room. Eleven’s developers say the game should minimize latency when on a shared Wi-Fi network, with a possible delay of only 2-3 milliseconds. In other words, once the prints arrive it should make for an extremely realistic game of table tennis without any physical table or ball.
Are you going to be 3D printing the grip to up your table tennis game in VR? Let us know in the comments below.
All images provided by Florian Auté from Thingiverse and Reddit and posted here with permission. Video rehosted on YouTube with permission from Auté, and the original can be found on Reddit. Managing Editor Ian Hamilton contributed to this post.
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