New treadmill-like devices will let people walk in virtual reality – but a few extra tricks can make them feel even more immersed
The WizDish™ locomotion platform is an exercise device that allows a user to perform a walk simulation on the spot. It provides the functionality of an 'omni-directional' treadmill' but without moving parts. Such devices allow a single user to walk and turn in any direction without going anywhere. This capability is particularly useful for full body immersion within virtual environments.
The sense of immersion, referred to as virtual presence, is significantly enhanced by physical movement. Walking is a fundamental activity that not only provides a means of navigation but also crucial feedback that the human brain combines with audible and visual cues to comprehend 3D spaces. A medical phenomenon known as proprioception, which is a combination of your kinaesthetic and vestibular senses, provides information to the brain about the position of our limbs and the extent to which we exert them. From this we can deduce where we are, how far we have moved, where that is relative to a previous location and which direction we are facing.
The design avoids using moving parts, not just because it’s good engineering practice, but because users find moving platforms and wheeled footwear unsettling in this type of scenario. The ability to maintain the entire foot sole in contact with a static platform keeps the user feeling in control and prevents the sensation of losing balance.
The WizDish platform is a composite construction of high performance polymers. The WizShoes™ are a unique design of skate specially created for this purpose.
Asil note: I may pony up for this kick-starter round.