These Boots Will Let You Walk Normally Through VR Worlds
Virtual reality is an up and coming technology, not only int the gaming space, but as a tool for all sorts of useful or entertainment purposes. The idea of being literally inside a fantasy, space, or high-pressure situation appeals to our many senses - who doesn't want to pet a dragon or fly a ship, you know?
One of the drawbacks of VR, as we know it, is how static you have to be when participating in your activity. Interacting with a virtual world can have ugly consequences for the real you if you're walking into walls or accidentally punching a TV, so these Ekto One shoes from Ekto VR (and spotted by UploadVR) provide an interesting solution to that problem - shoes that are like highly intelligent Roombas attached to your feet.
Ekto VR probably can describe them better than that but imagine smart shoes that compensate for whatever movement you produce. You take a step, wheels on the bottom of your shoe move you back enough for that step to be cancelled out - ingenious and effective.
This prevents all the walking into walls that prevents a lot of VR from really excelling. Allowing someone to move about as if they were in a 3D space would certainly make VR experiences feel that more involved and realistic. In the past, we've seen other efforts to resolve this issue like massive treadmills, or even just a very large open space to experience the VR within, but if Ekto VR's boots take off, then they could be a more consumer-friendly alternative to what we like to call "headbutting a lamp or a loved one" problem.
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The video shows a demonstration of the product in Half-Life 3 - I mean Half-Life Alyx, the massive VR success that came out earlier this year. Walking is certainly slower than the short teleports that many games have adopted to avoid the walking issue, but it's really interesting to see the shoes, not only compensate for the walking forward, but also for the turns the demonstrator takes.
The video also shows that the user is a little more unsteady on their feet - trying to walk normally with a hunk of metal attached to your sole, that's automatically moving under you can't be much harder than walking in heels, but it's probably uncomfortable all the same. Don't worry though, the shoes are still a few years away from release so Ekto VR has some more time to perfect the tech.
Featured Image Credit: Ekto VR / Valve