Finally, A Way To Make Virtual Reality Even Lamer

Standing around in an awkward set of motion tracking video goggles while tethered a computer makes virtual reality feel anything but real. You need to be able to move around to really get the virtual experience, which this bizarre sliding platform lets you do — kind of.

Calling the Wizdisk a treadmill is a bit of misnomer since it's completely lacking a moving tread — but the experience is similar. Users instead stand on a slick concave desk which minimizes friction under foot so you can shuffle along in place, pretending to walk around.

It sounds awkward, and all the videos demonstrating its use make it look awkward too. But it's one of those 'better than nothing' things because it allows someone in a virtual world to easily pivot and move about more freely. It still requires a heck of a lot of imagination and suspension of disbelief, but if you still think virtual reality has a chance of catching on, you're probably already used to relying on your imagination. [Wizdish via DamnGeeky]


Comments

    why could not lift your feet up in that thing? then it would be like a treadmill that moves in any direction and could be used reasonably well for VR feet tracking

      Basically you have to moonwalk or Melbourne shuffle in order to go anywhere?

        I knew I learnt Melbourne shuffle for a reason :D Sounds bloody fun now you mention it!

      Omnidirectional treadmills are very difficult to make, expensive, and usually very big. Go youtube it and you'll see what I mean. It's like comparing a golf cart to a Bugatti.

    Can't tell of he's going backwards or forwards....

    "It still requires a heck of a lot of imagination and suspension of disbelief, but if you still think virtual reality has a chance of catching on, you’re probably already used to relying on your imagination."

    Somehow I get the feeling that the author hasn't actually tried one of these, and can't speak for how immersive it is or isn't. The people in the videos I've seen seemed quite impressed with how well it works though, I'd trust their impressions over this.

    @p1r: You can't lift up your feet because you need something to push against to make your other foot go backwards. Otherwise you would just step right off the thing - there's still a level of friction to the board, so your placed foot won't just slide backwards when you pull back on it.

    "but if you still think virtual reality has a chance of catching on, you’re probably already used to relying on your imagination. "

    I have two words for you: Oculus Rift.

      Exactly.
      The Oculus Rift (while at least a year or 2 away from commercialisation) is a great step forward for good VR and head tracking. The tech is there, it's up to the devs now to implement it.
      This VR platform is the only one I've found that isn't the size of a large car.

      I've seen this thing months ago and it's been around for longer than that.
      First hand impressions on youtube seem favourable. It's the concave nature of the disk that makes your body feel like its walking without lifting your feet. The motion is quite similar.

      I think it's unfair to bash the device without trying it. Why don't the Gizmodo US editors, do some real journalism and go interview the guy and try it out. My only problem with it at this stage is that you need the special shoes (I think).

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