Virtual Walking
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 31 December 2023

It is a fundamental problem of VR and games that the virtual world is limitless, but you are constrained to a little box. Now we have VR Shoes from Freeaim VR that might just let you walk as far as you could virtually want to.

Progress in VR and AR seems to have slowed recently. It's still a useful and interesting area of developement, but it has cooled over the past few years. Companies keep promising, but so far it really isn't mainsteam, apart perhaps for gaming.

The problem with making gamming more real is the way you interact with the virtual world. Put simply you use game controllers to do everything, including move. When you walk from one location to another it is hardly like walking from one location to another. It could be done, but you'd need a real playing area as big as the virtual playing era. The solution is perhaps a pair of shoes that have motors built in - you walk one way and the motors move you back to where you came from. The result - unlimited walking within a 2m by 2m space. It is as if you had strapped a treadmill to each foot:

The FAQs state that at the moment the shoes can manage a slow jog/fast walk, but that there could be a modified device that allows running. It looks a lot like a "moonwalk", but without the clever sliding. The shoes also "autocorrect" the user's position by slowly moving them back to the center of the play area.

If you are a programmer, once you have seen them in action you can't help but think about the algorithms that are involved and what you could develop them to do, such as physical rehabilitation. And what about the dance moves you could create!

Freeaim VR plans to make the shoes available some time in 2024 at a "low" but undisclosed price. At the moment they only work with Steam VR, but it is early days. vrshoes


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 31 December 2023 )