A moving floor to play VR games
Image credit: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 28, 2021
One of the current limitations in using virtual reality is the restriction to move around. To overcome that, I propose a pad on the floor that will enable movements in all directions.
The user will stand on the pad and wear special shoes or socks that have sensors. The floor pad will act like the treadmill floor but instead of moving in just one direction like the treadmill, it will move in whichever direction the user moves in. It would simulate the movement of walking on a giant ball. The ball rotates in the opposite direction the person standing on the ball moves in. Instead of a giant ball, the pad will have a circular plate covered with a conveyor belt-like material. The belt will sense the movement of the feet and move in anticipation to simulate walking/ running, etc. I imagine the pad to be about 10 to 15 cm tall. The side of the floor can be variable. For kids, the floor can be 3 feet by 3 feet. For adults, it can be 5 ft by 5 ft.
Although I imagined it as a feature to improve the VR experience, it can be used to perform exercises in a confined space like a treadmill. Instead of movement in a single direction like on a treadmill, you can move in all directions and still be confined to a smaller space.
Soft-material treadmill surface
Juran May 28, 2021
We could use sensory gel pads for the treadmill surface. Why?
- running/moving on the softer surface put less stress on the joints
- softer treadmill pads could increase the precision of movements and enhance the overall gaming experience
- it can change its stiffness and more realistically mimic the surface you are moving on
- it could be heated or cooled according to the current gaming ambient
- it can detect body movement irregularities, dynamically change according to the user habits and improve overall body health
Juran May 28, 2021
Since I saw the omni-directional treadmill and the VR backpacks , I am crazy about it. The only thing that holds me back is the price. They are ridiculously expensive and therefore, I love the idea of this session. I had a couple of ideas that could make the technology and the experience more affordable.
The idea is to retain a small volume of the gaming platform, but make it without moving surface. Why? They are loud (especially while running or jumping), become dirty, and are prone to blockages/malfunctions due to dirt entering the sensitive mechanism.
Several ideas I would base this platform on would be:
- hanging VR experience (hanging 20 cm above the ground, tied to a platform via mountain-climbing-belt-like VR add-on, with sensory shoes and gloves)
Muscular traction-guided movement
For the same reasons mentioned in "going aerial" part, the idea would be to make the gaming more sedimental. Many hardcore gamers, who play all days long, would adapt to this type of VR experience much easier than to the running treadmill version.
- rubber-based matrix/mold where you would insert your feet. It would sense your muscle attractionsnd move you in desired direction. Jumps and crounches would be done in manually by the controller.