Home Virtual Reality Games DDR Type Mat Lets You Transfer in VR by Strolling in Place

DDR Type Mat Lets You Transfer in VR by Strolling in Place


Digital actuality headsets now come shut sufficient to fooling your eyes into believing you’re someplace else, however the expertise doesn’t translate as properly to the remainder of your physique. Researchers from South Korea’s Gwangju Institute of Science and Know-how need VR to be a complete physique expertise, and have created a solution to bodily stroll and run round digital worlds with out really going wherever.

The last word objective for digital actuality is to have one thing just like the Holodecks featured in Star Trek: The Subsequent Technology, the place customers have been free to navigate digital worlds by really strolling round in them as a substitute of getting to manage their actions utilizing joysticks. However merging actual world actions, like strolling or operating, with VR simulations has been one of many largest challenges within the area. It’s a essential development, although, because it received’t simply make your expertise extra immersive, however may also assist stop movement illness, which might rear its ugly head in case your mind processes you shifting and your physique doesn’t—that is quite common with joystick controls in VR.

It’s an issue we’ve seen VR researchers deal with time and again. Over time we’ve seen every thing from elaborate treadmill-like platforms that may transfer in a number of instructions below a person’s ft, to a utterly cellular VR answer that swaps the actual world for a computer-generated one whereas the person goes for a stroll outdoors. After over a decade of improvement, an organization known as Virtuix can also be lastly delivering its answer, which has VR customers standing in a big concave dish, permitting them to stroll or run in place whereas their actions get translated to the digital expertise. However it’s a pretty big contraption demanding a large quantity of floorspace, and at $3,000, most VR customers received’t be capable to afford one.

Researchers from South Korea’s Gwangju Institute of Science and Know-how have provide you with a smaller and extra reasonably priced answer. By profiting from expertise developed at MIT CSAIL, they’ve made a versatile foot-sensing mat paying homage to the pads that shipped with the house variations of video games like Dance Dance Revolution, however with much more sensitivity.

Seamless-walk: pure and cozy digital actuality locomotion technique

The Seamless-walk system makes use of MIT’s clever carpet expertise to seize the person’s “high-resolution foot strain imprints” as they stand, stroll, and even run in place, on the mat. The info from the mat’s sensors are processed by a machine studying mannequin that is ready to not solely differentiate the strain from a person’s left and proper ft, however extrapolate their supposed actions and velocity, whether or not they’re strolling or operating forwards or again, or just turning back and forth. The mat replaces the necessity for a handheld joystick, in addition to different {hardware} like body-mounted movement sensors or a digital camera base station.

Having users physically move their bodies to navigate a virtual world could be the key to reducing the motion sickness that many experience when strapping on a VR headset. If a VR character’s movements are gently bobbing from side to side as they’re walking, but the user’s brain isn’t detecting those same movements in the real world because the user is standing still and just moving a tiny joystick, that sensory separation can lead to confusion, dizziness, and even nausea. It’s one of the biggest things holding VR back from wider adoption, and alternate solutions likes teleporting characters or room scale VR can only go so far (about as far as your living room, in the case of the latter). But this foot-sensing mat could help make infinite movement options more accessible, because it could be mass-produced on the cheap, and can be easily rolled up and stored at the end of a VR session, unlike solutions where the hardware occupies a big chunk of floor space when not in use.

The obvious downside to the mat is that users don’t actually move around on it, and instead have to walk and run in place, which, as the video above demonstrates, could be easily confused for them impatiently waiting to use the bathroom. 

The system could be scaled up, however, and a foot-sensing mat could be created that’s large enough to fill an entire warehouse, allowing VR users to more naturally walk and run around in real life, and in their virtual worlds, without being tethered to other hardware to detect their movements. But until we figure out how the Holodecks keep users from running into walls eventually, maybe the “I have to pee” dance approach is as good as it will get.


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