Wednesday, February 25, 2009

VR Magic Carpet

Slow and tiny steps.  That's what the subject in this article has to take, and it's what the VR developers are currently taking.  The tiny slow steps of a new technology, painful, and one day to be looked back on with a kind of "Geez - can you imagine that?" mixture of nostalgia and horror.

I mean - watch the video.  The chap "demonstrating" the floor has to shuffle like an arthritic centenarian in a stupor, it's so slow and creaking and painstaking.  I took a look at the page where Dr Iwatoo is mentioned, but Google kindly translated the page from Japanese for me, meaning I understood it less than I would have the Kanji characters, but I gather that there is rather a lot of VR technology attributable to the good doctor and/or institutions he worked at, most of which is baffling even without the translation.  Would you lock yourself inside what looks like a giant ant and immerse yourself in VR that way?  *shudder* It scares me, that does.

But on the matter of the robo-floor, I do have a few suggestions.  Like - a LOT more tiles.  And a much tighter moving algorithm.  Part of the problem is that tiles do large circuits which take time to complete.  And they're not all that fast to begin with. And they're noisy.  And need batteries.  What would be nice would be if we could just sort of fit a magic carpet into a shoe...

Well, how about this thought? Put an inductive grid under the floor, and matching coils/magnets in the soles of a pair of "VR overshoes."  Now you can just float the user backwards and forwards on roller ball bearings, you can simulate climbing and acceleration by tilting the floor, and more.

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