Cybershoes Replaces Expensive Treadmills to Simulate Walking in VR

One of the biggest draws for virtual reality games is that they are able to give you levels of immersion previously unimagined in video games.

Part of this involves a certain high degree of physicality in games and in how the user interacts with them.

As you can imagine, this is quite a change from how most gamers – and, indeed, the general public at large – expect to interact with games.

A largely sedentary hobby for better or worse, VR gaming is often anything but that. Of course, we all remember the Nintendo Wii and how much motion controls changed everything.

And some of us might even know someone who accidentally tossed their Wiimote into the television screen because they were going just that much harder in the game than you were.

But running in a video game by actually running in real life? That’s a new concept entirely but one entirely facilitated in VR with the use of expensive, cumbersome treadmills built just for that purpose.

Cybershoes hopes to change all of that and not only give more users access to the full VR experience but also do that in a small form factor that has as tiny of a footprint as possible in your living room.

As PCGamesN reports, the Cybershoes resemble slip ons and are quite minimal in form factor and appearance. This is intentional according to the team behind the device which seeks to maximize freedom of movement while minimizing anything that may encumber the player.

One area where the cybershoes are a unique device is in the bespoke chair made for the device. The chair allows the player be sitting but also have access to a full range of motion. Running is simulated by moving the shoes over the floor to simulate running. It’s interesting to behold in person and really shows you how far the industry has come in trying to shrink down the devices needed to simulate everyday actions.

If you will recall, many of the devices currently on the market include the above mentioned treadmills as well as harnesses and other expensive equipment. Even with the chair, the Cybershoes are a massive reduction in the amount of money – and space – you need to expend to accommodate the tech.

You might be wondering how movement works in VR units without treadmills and the like and that’s a good question and the answer is quite simple. Many games employ what is referred to as a “teleportation” technique as PCGamesN points out that zooms the player in on the target action.

If it sounds like you glide up to opponents a la Too Human style then you’d be correct and that’s why this isn’t the best method but it is an elegant and convenient solution. Allowing for more realistic movement is a goal of the next generation of many VR devices and eliminating the need for programming tricks or even controller inputs is at the top of the list of most-wanted features. Bottom line, as Jacob Ridley at PCGamesN points out, none of this stuff comes cheap and that’s perhaps one of the biggest limiting factors of all.

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