Movement in virtual reality worlds is a problem that has yet to be satisfyingly fixed.
Unless you're using a room-scale VR kit like the HTC Vive, which lets you physically walk around a space, you're left usually using controller thumb sticks, which can cause nauseating disorientation as your body tries to interpret the apparent movement. Even with Vive, you're limited by the bounds of the room.
But a gadget debuting at CES 2017 may be the answer. The 3dRudder Wireless is a controller for your feet, offering a new way to explore virtual worlds.
A cable-free version of the earlier 3dRudder prototype, the disc-shaped controller takes input from your feet and translates that to VR movements.
Intended for use while seated, it includes pressure sensors that let you move forward and backwards, turn and rotate and strafe left or right by leaning appropriately on the board.
Each foot movement can also be programmed to trigger different controls – perhaps the pedals in a driving game, for instance – or used to accessibly control standard applications for those with disabilities.
Though it was originally conceived as a CAD controller, its creators now see it as an intuitive alternative for movement controls, seeing as they're mapped somewhat more naturally to the feet.
Connecting over Bluetooth 4.0 to Windows, Android and Steam OS systems, the 3dRudder Wireless is compatible with all major VR headsets aside from PlayStation VR, including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Google Daydream. A built-in battery gives 12 hours of use between charges.
Slated for a summer 2017 release date, it's set to be priced at $199 (roughly £165 / AU$275 when converted directly). Hopefully it'll provide the answer to how we'll navigate wide-open VR spaces without turning our stomachs.
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