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1. (WO2007002775) SYNCHRONIZED VIBRATION DEVICE FOR HAPTIC FEEDBACK
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CLAIMS
1. A vibration device, comprising:
a base member;
a plurality of actuators being coupled to the base member and including:
a first actuator having a first member and a second member, the first member thereof being operatively coupled to a first portion of the base member, and the second member thereof being moveable relative to the first member of the first actuator, and
a second actuator having a first member and a second member, the first member thereof being operatively coupled to a second portion of the base member, and the second member thereof being moveable relative to the first member of the second actuator; and
means for synchronously vibrating at least the first and second ones of the plurality of actuators .

2. The vibration device of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second actuators comprises a linear motion vibration actuator.

3. The vibration device of claim 2, wherein the first member of the linear motion vibration actuator includes a permanent magnet, the second member of the linear motion vibration actuator includes an electromagnet, and the synchronously vibrating means is operable to modulate a magnetic force between the electromagnet and the permanent magnet .

4. The vibration device of claim 2, wherein the first member of the linear motion vibration actuator includes an electromagnet, the second member of the linear motion vibration actuator includes a permanent magnet, and the synchronously vibrating means is operable to modulate a magnetic force between the electromagnet and the permanent magnet .

5. The vibration device of claim 1, further comprising a spring device coupled to the second member of the linear motion vibration actuator for providing a restoring force thereto .

6. The vibration device of claim 1, wherein the synchronously vibrating means operates the first and second actuators at a substantially identical phase and a substantially identical frequency.

7. The vibration device of claim 1, wherein the synchronously vibrating means controls operation of the first and second actuators to vary at least one of an amplitude of a combined vibration force of the first and second actuators and a direction of the combined vibration force.

8. The vibration device of claim 1, wherein the second actuator is oriented non-orthogonalIy relative to the first actuator.

9. The vibration device of claim 1, wherein the plurality of actuators further includes a third actuator having a first member and a second member, the first member thereof being coupled to a third portion of the base member, the second . member thereof being moveable relative to the first member of the third actuator, and the first, second and third actuators being oriented such that the vibration device is operable to generate a three dimensional combined vibration force.

10. The vibration device of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second actuators comprises a rotary actuator.

11. The vibration device of claim 10, wherein the rotary actuator includes a pivoting mass .

12. The vibration device of claim 11, further comprising a spring device coupled to the pivoting mass and to the base member, wherein the synchronously vibrating means is operable to control the vibration device at a resonant frequency of the pivoting mass and the spring device.

13. The vibration device of claim 12 , wherein the spring device is coupled to the pivoting mass such that a nonlinear spring force is generated.

14. The vibration device of claim 1, further comprising a pair of spring devices, wherein at least one of the first and second actuators comprises a rocking actuator having a rocking mass pivotally coupled at one end thereof to the base member by the pair of spring devices .

15. The vibration device of claim 1, wherein at least the first and second actuators of the plurality of actuators are synchronously vibrated for a first duration of time and are vibrated asynchronousIy for a second duration of time.

16. A vibratory control system, comprising:
a plurality of actuators coupled to a base and including:
a first actuator having a first member and a second member moveable relative to the first member thereof, the first member of the first actuator being operatively coupled to a first portion of the base, and
a second actuator having a first member and a second member moveable relative to the first member thereof, the first member of the second actuator being operatively coupled to a second portion of the base;
a plurality of drivers, each of the plurality of drivers being operatively coupled to one of the plurality of actuators ; and
a controller coupled to the plurality of drivers and operable to provide amplitude, phase and frequency information to the plurality of drivers to synchronously vibrate at least the first and second ones of the plurality of actuators .

17. The system of claim 16, wherein at least one of the frequency and phase information provided to the first actuator is substantially identical to the frequency and phase information provided to the second actuator.

18. The system of claim 16, wherein the controller includes :
a direction and amplitude controller operable to specify a combined vibration amplitude and a direction of vibration;
a frequency controller operable to specify a vibration frequency; and
a vibration controller operable to control the combined vibration amplitude, the direction of vibration and the vibration frequency to synchronously vibrate at least the first and second ones of the plurality of actuators.

19. The system of claim 16, further comprising a haptic interface operable to provide a force sensation to the user.

20. The system of claim 19, wherein the haptic interface includes the plurality of actuators and the plurality of drivers, and further includes an input device for receiving the input from the user.

21. The system of claim 19, further including a display device operatively connected to the controller for providing a visual display to the user.

22. A game controller, comprising:
a housing;
at least one input device disposed in the housing for receiving input from a user;
a first actuator disposed in the housing, the first actuator having a fixed member coupled to the housing and a moveable member operatively engaged with the fixed member and moveable relative thereto; and
a second actuator disposed in the housing, the second actuator having a fixed member coupled to the housing and a moveable member operatively engaged with the fixed member and moveable relative thereto;
wherein the first and second actuators are operable to synchronously vibrate such that a haptic sensation is provided to the user.

23. The game controller of claim 22, wherein the second actuator is oriented such that a vibration force of the second actuator is not parallel to a vibration force of the first actuator.

24. The game controller of claim 22, wherein the second actuator is positioned over the first actuator to minimize torque during synchronized vibration.

25. The game controller of claim 22, wherein first and second actuators generate a torque during synchronized vibration.

26. The game controller of claim 22, wherein at least one of the first and second actuators is a pivoting actuator or a linear actuator operable to generate frequencies below 50 Hertz.

27. The game controller of claim 22, wherein the first and second actuators each comprise a rotary actuator, and an axis of a rotating shaft of the first actuator is aligned with an axis of a rotating shaft of the second actuator.

28. A vibration device, comprising:
a base member;
a first actuator operatively attached to the base member, the first actuator being operable to generate a first vibration force having a first frequency of vibration and a first magnitude of vibration associated therewith, the first actuator being further operable to impart the first vibration force to the base member;
a second actuator operatively attached to the base member, the second actuator being operable to generate a second vibration force having a second frequency of vibration and a second magnitude of vibration associated therewith, the second actuator being further operable to impart the second vibration force to the base member;
means for controlling the first and second actuators so that the first frequency of vibration is substantially identical to the second frequency of vibration;
means for independently modulating the magnitudes of the first and second vibration forces to control a direction of a combined vibration force applied onto the base member, wherein the combined vibration force is a vector sum of the first and second vibration forces; and
means for controlling timing of vibrations of the first and second actuators so that peaks of the magnitudes of the first and second vibration forces occur substantially concurrently.

29. The vibration device of claim 28, wherein each of the actuators comprises a first member operatively coupled to the base member and a second member movable relative to the corresponding first member.

30. The vibration device of claim 28, wherein the first and second actuators are controlled to vibrate in-phase.

31. The vibration device of claim 28, wherein the first frequency of vibration is a primary frequency of the first actuator and the second frequency of vibration is a primary frequency of the second actuator.

32. The vibration device of claim 29, wherein an electromagnetic force is generated between the first and second members in both of the first and second actuators .

33. The vibration device of claim 32, wherein the first member of each actuator includes a permanent magnet and the second member of each actuator includes an electromagnet.

34. The vibration device of claim 29, wherein the first and second actuators each further comprises a spring device that generates force between the first and second members of the respective actuator.

35. The vibration device of claim 34, wherein both the first actuator and the second . actuator are operated at substantially a natural frequency of the respective actuator.

36. The vibration device of claim 34, wherein both of the actuators are operated over a range of frequencies of the respective actuator, and wherein the range of frequencies includes a natural frequency of the respective actuator.

37. The vibration device of claim 28, wherein the direction of the combined vibration force corresponds to a direction of an event in a computer simulation.

38. The vibration device of claim 37, wherein a change in the direction of the combined vibration force corresponds to a change in the direction of a simulated motion in the computer simulation.

39. The vibration device of claim 28, wherein the direction of the combined vibration force applied onto the base member is controlled to vary over time.

40. A vibration device, comprising:
a base member;
a first actuator operatively attached to the base member and having a member moveable relative to the base, the first actuator being operable to apply a first force onto the base member;
a second actuator operatively attached to the base member and having a member moveable relative to the base, the second actuator being operable to apply a second force onto the base member; and
means for controlling timing of the first and second actuators such that the moveable member of each of the first and second actuators repeatedly reverses direction of motion relative to the base member at substantially the same time.

41. The vibration device of claim 40, further comprising means for independently modulating magnitudes of the first and second forces to control a direction of a combined force applied onto the base member, wherein the combined force is a vector sum of the first and second forces .

42. The vibration device of claim 40, further comprising means for independently modulating the magnitudes of the first and second forces to control a magnitude of a combined force applied onto the base member, wherein the combined force is a vector sum of the first and second forces.

43. The vibration device of claim 42, wherein the means for independently modulating is further operable to control a direction of the combined force applied onto the base member.

44. The vibration device of claim 41, wherein the means for controlling the timing of the first and second actuators is further operable to repeatedly reverse a direction of translation of the movable member of each actuator relative to the base member at substantially the same time.

45. The vibration device of claim 41, wherein the means for controlling the timing of the first and second actuators is further operable to repeatedly reverse a direction of rotation of the movable member of each actuator relative to the base member at substantially the same time.

46. The vibration device of claim 41, wherein the means for controlling adjusts the timing of the first and second actuators such that the movable member of the first actuator reverses direction of motion relative to the base member at every occurrence that the movable member of the second actuator reverses direction of motion relative to the base member, and the reversals of the direction of motion corresponding to the first and second actuators occur at substantially the same time.

47. The vibration device of claim 41, wherein:
for a first duration of vibration the means for controlling the timing of the first and second actuators is operable to cause the movable member of the first actuator to reverse direction of motion relative to the base member for every occurrence that the movable member of the second actuator reverses direction of motion relative to the base member, and the reversals of motion occur at substantially the same time; and
for a second duration of vibration the means for controlling the timing of the first and second actuators is operable to cause the movable member of the first actuator to not reverse direction of motion relative to the base member for every occurrence that the movable member of the second actuator reverses direction of motion relative to the base member, and the reversals of motion do not occur at substantially the same time.

48. A method of controlling a vibratory device, comprising:
imparting a first vibration force to a base with a first actuator;
imparting a second vibration force to the base with a second actuator; and
synchronously vibrating the first and second actuators to impart a combined vibration force to the base by applying amplitude information, phase information and frequency information to the first and second actuators .

49. The method of claim 48, wherein the frequency information applied to the second actuator is substantially identical to the frequency information applied to the first actuator, and the phase information applied to the second actuator is substantially identical to the phase information applied to the first actuator.

50. The method of claim 48, further comprising:
specifying a combined vibration amplitude and a direction of vibration;
specifying a frequency of vibration; and
controlling the combined vibration amplitude, the direction of vibration and the frequency of vibration to synchronously vibrate the first and second actuators.

51. A method for operating a vibration device, comprising:
providing a first actuator operable to generate a first vibration force having a first frequency of vibration and a first magnitude of vibration associated therewith, the first actuator being further operable to impart the first vibration force to a base member;
providing a second actuator operable to generate a second vibration force having a second frequency of vibration and a second magnitude of vibration associated therewith, the second actuator being further operable to impart the second vibration force to the base member;
controlling the first and second actuators so that the first frequency of vibration is substantially identical to the second frequency of vibration;

independently modulating the magnitudes of the first and second vibration forces to control a direction of a combined vibration force applied onto the base member, wherein the combined vibration force is a vector sum of the first and second vibration forces; and
controlling timing of vibrations of the first and second actuators so that peaks of the magnitudes of the first and second vibration forces occur substantially concurrently.

52. A method of controlling a vibration device, comprising:
providing a first actuator having a member moveable relative to a base, the first actuator being operable to apply a first force onto the base member;
providing a second actuator having a member moveable relative to the base, the second actuator being operable to apply a second force onto the base member; and
controlling timing of the first and second actuators such that the moveable member of each of the first and second actuators repeatedly reverses direction of motion relative to the base member at substantially the same time.

53. The method of claim 52, further comprising independently modulating magnitudes of the first and second forces to control a direction of a combined force applied onto the base member, wherein the combined force is a vector sum of the first and second forces .