The American startup showed a prototype of robotic boots that help you stay in one place while playing in virtual reality and create the feeling of walking. The shoe is expected to be available to the general public in two to four years.
The shoes were developed by Ekto VR, a Pittsburgh- based company . It’s a pair of boots that are made up of lightweight carbon fiber and HTC’s Vive Tracke r controllers for tracking. At the bottom of the device there are two rotating plates that can rotate in the direction the user is going. As soon as he puts his foot on the plate, a set of wheels at the bottom pulls it back – this prevents the player from moving from the spot and, according to the creators, creates the feeling of walking. In addition, the built-in braking system is applied when the user comes to a stop, preventing him from slipping or losing balance. Ekto VR boots work showed by example game of Half-Life: Alyx .
During a press conference held in early September, Brad Factor, CEO of the company, announced that the development had already passed a series of safety and stability tests. He noted that it will take some time before launching the boots, as Ekto VR wants to protect users from all potential risks, and repeated tests should eliminate them and check the functionality of the device while walking and running.
So far, the Ekto One is intended only for corporate users, because now the boots are too bulky, expensive and difficult to use for ordinary players. However, according to the CEO, the company expects to bring the shoe to market within two to four years, making it lighter and more affordable.
This is not the first attempt to develop shoes for gaming in virtual reality : Google previously published a patent for boots on wheels. As conceived, they track all the movements of the user, and the wheels after each step automatically take him to the starting position, thereby creating a feeling of endless space around. Also, shoes can allow the player to move within certain boundaries, for example, within a room, but take them back if they are crossed.
An Australian startup has also shown its shoe on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform . Cybershoes are soles that attach to the user’s shoe. The player himself is sitting on a rotating chair at this time, and it feels like he moves in space thanks to the built-in small rollers.