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 Hands free locomotion demo 
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Cross Eyed!

Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:00 am
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Hi all,

See below for my demo using the locomotion device hands free with a waist support assembly. Apologies that it looks rather crude. Also, I must admit, the gait currently looks somewhat, well, womanish… Luckily, I can solve this through increasing the stability by optimizing the shoe sole configuration. Also, making the belt assembly look nicer won't be difficult; the most important is that the hands free waist assembly concept is working well.

The walking experience feels natural and smooth. To respond to previous questions: the uphill walking is not noticeably tiring. It might be similar to walking on a regular treadmill, which is somewhat inclined as well. Turning, jumping, strafing, … all goes well and without feeling too constraint. The walking movement feels like your natural gait.

I realize the gait does not look perfect yet, but this can be optimized by having different levels of friction/slip at different places on the shoe sole.

I started working on a new prototype, which will be smaller and lower than this device. The ultimate product can be much more compact, and easy to disassemble by the user for easy storage. Ultimately, this device should fit in anyone’s living room.

I also re-posted my screen cap demo below, since it got lost in the shuffle in the other thread amongst a flurry of alternative locomotion ideas. I'll shoot another screen cap video, hands free, soon. I am working on some updated Kinect software that recognizes hand gestures to steer the game, in addition to walking/running/jumping etc. I am implementing a re-load gesture, swap weapons, etc.

The immersion of walking in a game is truly mind blowing. It takes the VR experience to a whole new level. I can’t wait to try this with the Rift and augment the immersion even more. I believe we are entering a new era of virtual reality – very exciting, and fun.

Let me know what you think. I can also use some help to find an appropriate name for this device – I’ll start a separate thread for that.

Jan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlJZkDhuX7g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpqyHDMVFp8




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Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:40 pm
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Certif-Eyed!

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Wow, I am truly impressed! We could be seeing this in arcades everywhere soon! Compared to some other solutions, this one looks rather elegant.

One question: what is that thing attached to the waist in the first video?


Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:54 pm
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Diamond Eyed Freakazoid!
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You are the king of the hill.
This is the best locomotion device ever ive seen. CRAZY!!! This looks so natural.
Well there are omnidirectional treadmills, but they cant compete with yours in a economically manner. No way.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:57 pm
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Looks great. Only thing that looks unnatural is the way your body leans forward, but I guess you know this already.
Oh, name? I gave it a lot of thought, and I think you'll agree with me that Randomoneh™ is really the only true choice. :D

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:59 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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Still looks good but your previous attempt without the harness looked better, the walking seemed a lot more natural. This last version seems to require more energy for walking, I guess you'll be able to mitigate that with different settings in a future version as you said.

As for a name, I found this one that should be quite self-explanatory and sounds nice to me : The Gait Slider.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:20 pm
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do u really need the waist support? in the video it seems as if you wouldnt need it. sure it is for safety. but just for knowing.


Last edited by colocolo on Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:23 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Hello,
JanVR I find your solution very interesting. I'm looking for a way to exercice using VR and this look much more fun than cycling in a VR environment
However I have a one question about it : What would happen if you make the device a little more flat and remove the wooden part for the waist ? Will you fall ? can you train yourself not to ?

Good job so far

PS : first post here, so hello everyone


Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:26 pm
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That is really amazing. When I look at it, I get the feeling that it will be kind of like walking through water though, since there will be force pushing back against you due to the friction on the shoes. Also, does it feel a bit odd having your feet always pushing towards each other?
How would you compare the amount of energy it takes to walk with this compared with real life?


Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:31 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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awesome stuff! with this though one looks a bit like a toddler learning how to walk.
alas, the virtusphere is 35-50-100k depending on who you ask and I'd rather save up that sort of money for an apartment

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:35 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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Yes, for now the waist support assembly is needed, as the assembly provides a subtle but important support. If I can make the glide 100% consistent and can play around with the shoe sole configuration, I might be able to get rid of the waist support. However, that might be tough. The assembly is not cumbersome or too constraining though, and still has to be optimized.

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:37 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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@JanVR, I'm sold, this is really cool. 8-)


Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:09 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Great work! I wish there was a way to be less constricted by the harness. Something that would let you crouch.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:21 pm
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You did it finally, congratz 8-)


Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:23 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful
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That looks really good! I could definitely see this being in an arcade-type place for non-enthusiast use.

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:35 pm
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Fredz wrote:
Still looks good but your previous attempt without the harness looked better, the walking seemed a lot more natural.


Fredz: Could you please post a link to that?

JanVR: This is amazing! Easily the best affordable omni-directional solution I have ever seen. This could do for omni-directional locomotion what the Rift is doing to high-FoV VR goggles!


Last edited by Zoide on Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:48 pm
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Amazing work JanVR!!!!! :woot


Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:23 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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Zoide wrote:
Fredz: Could you please post a link to that?
It was basically the same setup but without the harness, but the hands were not free.

Locomotion attempt :
viewtopic.php?f=140&t=16249

Zoide wrote:
JanVR: This is amazing! Easily the best affordable omni-directional solution I have ever seen. This could do for omni-directional locomotion what the Rift is doing to high-FoV VR goggles!
I'd say the best affordable solution is still the Red Rovr, for only the cost of a mobile phone :P :
viewtopic.php?p=95635#p95635


Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:14 pm
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Fredz: Thanks for the link. I'd already seen that video, but I thought when you said "without a harness" you meant there was literally nothing around his waist, even if not directly attached.

When you mentioned "Red Rover", I couldn't help but think of the South Park episode :lol:

(You'll have to Google it if you don't know what I mean. I'm afraid if I explain too much I'll get kicked out of the forum hehehe...)


Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:15 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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Hi Jan

Well done on building your rig. In all our emails you didn't mentioned you were developing it as a product. I'm sure you'll understand that I'm obliged to remind you of US patent no. 7470218, which is for a low friction concave platform with low friction shoes. Please appreciate that it took many years and a lot of money spent on prototyping and testing to create the WizShoes you're using in the demo.

A couple of things: in your previous video you had to hold the rail all the time. Is the 'baby walker' type seat harness required for hands free? Is it tricky to get into?
As I mentioned by email the WizDish started out larger and you would walk from about the centre up the side in the same fashion. We had to change that because people found the gradient tiring even though it was quite shallow. um, if you're going to make it smaller isn't it going to become even more like the current WizDish?

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:36 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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Congratulations JanVR. This looks very good and I think with refinement it will get even better. I am very curious to try it out. One thing missing in your video is backwards walking. How natural does a backwards gait feel?

Also, I know you are working to keep cost down and avoiding any motorization, but have you given any thought to sensors? Off the top of my head I can imagine a good place for two sensors. One in the "bowl" itself to detect foot placement. This might or might not be technically difficult, but detecting foot placement and slide within the bowl would allow very accurate direction and speed tracking that would probably be much better than camera methods. For example, "sneaking" or slow walking might be difficult for Kinect to differentiate and essentially impossible for Red Rovr to pick up, but floor sensors could probably handle that just fine. And it could add a lot of value to your package if it operated in a self-contained manner. Anybody wanna speculate on the best way to detect foot position within that bowl - pressure sensors, electrical contacts, cameras underneath, ???

Another simple place to put a sensor would be within the harness ring to track your absolute yaw orientation. This would be used for the same reason it's used in Red Rovr - to track your torso direction and main motion vector. But it would probably work better than in Red Rovr because it would be less subject to shaking and drift.

Again, nice work.

@Fredz: Thanks for the shout-out, but free-walking and ODT systems don't really operate in the same market. It became abundantly clear to me that there is only an infinitesimal population of VR enthusiasts that would be willing to free walk, but lots of people are interested in stationary devices - regardless of the difference in quality.

@Flassan: Some of the things I mention about embedded sensors would apply to the Wizdish as well.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:04 pm
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brantlew wrote:
@Fredz: Thanks for the shout-out, but free-walking and ODT systems don't really operate in the same market. It became abundantly clear to me that there is only an infinitesimal population of VR enthusiasts that would be willing to free walk, but lots of people are interested in stationary devices - regardless of the difference in quality.
It was supposed to be a joke, hence the smiley :P. I'm quite aware that these techniques serve different goals, but the cost of yours looked funny to me compared to any other solution to the walking problem. I don't have a football field in my backyard anyway, so I'd probably go for a more portable solution. :)


Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:20 pm
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I would love to see a close-up of the surface of JanVR's device and the soles of the shoes he's using. I'm intrigued by the grooves and how they work.

For example, how closely spaced are they? What happens if you don't step on a groove and the pin(s) on the shoes hit a flat region? Will your foot slip a bit laterally until the pin(s) slot into the nearest groove?

I think the grooves are a key innovation in JanVR's invention, but if it's leveraging the hard work that's been put into the Wizdish I'd rather everyone work together in harmony ;)


Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:33 pm
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Fredz wrote:
It was supposed to be a joke, hence the smiley


Sure, I wasn't offended. :) I'm just careful to avoid bias or debate over free-walking versus stationary devices.
I support both approaches.

( even though free-walking is WAY better :lol: )


Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:53 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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Nice progress, Jan! I was impressed by how quickly you could get moving in that thing.

Depending on how heavy and rigid the side supports end up being, you might be able to make the vertical parts telescope and allow a person to crouch. A fairly weak spring inside the telescoping mechanism could then raise the support structure back up with the user when they stand. I can see a couple of issues with the idea already, though. The force from the user crouching might buckle the supports inward enough to bind the telescoping mechanism. Also, very short people might need a different strength of spring to be comfortable.

I'm not sure if something like this has been tried before, but another idea would be to use three or so modest bungee cords anchored around the perimeter that run to a belt. The idea here being that the user would be able to still freely rotate inside the belt. Not sure yet how to tie the belt to the user moving vertically, though. Also, having not tried Jan's rig or the Wizdish, it's hard to say whether the forces in play would make something like that just extremely awkward in general.

@brantlew: Another idea for speed tracking might be a very small wheel or roller of a known diameter built into the shoes somewhere out of the way (onto the side?). Should be able to get the current speed from the RPM and transmitting that over a wireless connection, at least while the foot is in contact with the ground. Better yet may be to kit bash a couple of high-dpi wireless optical mice. That would give a 2D speed vector and not impair side-stepping.


Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:21 am
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Cross Eyed!

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BTW, should this thread be moved to the VR R&D section of the forum?


Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:27 am
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Turn this thing into an affordable, deliverable kit and....

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY :woot

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Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:31 am
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BillRoeske wrote:
@brantlew: Another idea for speed tracking might be a very small wheel or roller of a known diameter built into the shoes somewhere out of the way (onto the side?). Should be able to get the current speed from the RPM and transmitting that over a wireless connection, at least while the foot is in contact with the ground. Better yet may be to kit bash a couple of high-dpi wireless optical mice. That would give a 2D speed vector and not impair side-stepping.


Sort of like a mechanical mouse built into the shoes. How about an "optical mouse" built into the bottom of the shoes? You could paint a tiny grid or something within the surface and then use CCD or laser mouse technology to track near perfect foot movement. It would be great for relative movement. Only problem is that it couldn't find absolute position within the bowl which might be important for modeling step behavior.


Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:31 am
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Cross Eyed!

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Thanks all for the encouragements, greatly appreciated. I will keep working on optimizing the set-up.

@ Brantlew: you are more than welcome to come try out the device before you take off to the West Coast :) I like your sensors ideas; I'll need to look into this, as I am not a sensor specialist. However, ideally, sensors are not necessary thanks to improved optical tracking systems such as the Leap and others.

@ Flassan: I appreciate your note. We should probably take this discussion offline, but I wanted to highlight that my set-up is quite different than the Wizdish and does not infringe on your patent (also, the shoes shown in the demos are not Wizdish shoes).

@ Zoide: yes, your foot pin automatically slips into a groove. You don't notice this when walking.

In general, I am trying to keep the costs down as much as possible. I don't know yet how much the production costs would be for this product, but thanks to the lack of electronics and moving parts, it should be affordable. Any possible increase in functionality will have to be evaluated with regards to incremental costs.

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Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:42 am
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Any thoughts/comments about walking in a non-forwards direction? I'd be interested to know about moving sideways/backwards, and how your rig performs at this.

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Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:59 am
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Cross Eyed!

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Sideways movement works fine - I inserted some strafe moves into my demo video (might be a minute or so into the video). Backwards is a bit more difficult; I'll see if I can make an improvement in that regard. Then again, I rarely, if ever, walk backwards in real life?

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Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:10 am
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Could you post some close-up pictures of the grooves and the shoe soles? So far we've gotten a good look at the overall movements you can make but I'm curious as to how it actually works (e.g. the "resolution" of the grooves, how deep the pins are, how rigid the shoe soles are, how you support one foot in the center while you stretch out the other one, etc.)

Thanks


Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:12 am
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Petrif-Eyed
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JanVR wrote:
Sideways movement works fine - I inserted some strafe moves into my demo video (might be a minute or so into the video). Backwards is a bit more difficult; I'll see if I can make an improvement in that regard. Then again, I rarely, if ever, walk backwards in real life?


Backwards is rare in normal exploration, but might be much more common in combat scenarios. I think a typical reaction of gamers when encountering a foe is to move backwards while firing.


Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:27 am
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Diamond Eyed Freakazoid!
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JanVR wrote:
Sideways movement works fine - I inserted some strafe moves into my demo video (might be a minute or so into the video). Backwards is a bit more difficult; I'll see if I can make an improvement in that regard. Then again, I rarely, if ever, walk backwards in real life?

I heard someone mention this before; "but IRL I basically just walk forwards all the time, so I don't think sidestep is that important" (or a similar sentiment).

It's true that IRL you pretty much just walk forwards only, but that's because IRL you're not in any combat situations! If I want to engage in a virtual firefight you can guarantee people are going to want to move in all directions. Just look online at any videos of people in real combat, or SWAT teams etc, and you see an awful lot of "non-forward" foot movement.

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Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:31 am
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i think side and backward walking in game combat should still be an option.
but in total behaviour in-game will fundamentally change. 8-)


Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:44 am
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JanVR: Looking really great! It strikes me that what you really need is a friend who can weld. A single bent pipe holding up the central "rail ring" would look really smart and be a lot more stable. Instead of a harness I would consider a simple lean pad on rollers with perhaps a velcro strap that attaches around the waist (no climbing harnesses or anything that crazy). I think less is more with the whole harness design and the more fluid you can make the rotation the better. One benefit of the lean pad idea is that you can actually lower the support ring a bit for better arm clearance.

You could even get crazy and put some kind of pneumatic on the support arm to allow for crouching! (I didn't include that in the below but it is possible).

Here's a really bad, quick sketch...I'm out of practice!

Attachment:
vrwalkier.jpg


Tubing track rollers:

Image


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Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:17 pm
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Another important consideration is to allow for different user heights. I'm 1.78 m tall, but my fiancée is only 1.48 m, so you can imagine that a one-size-fits-all solution would not work for our household :lol:


Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:44 pm
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Yeah, the support stem needs to be adjustable for various heights for sure. Pretty simple fix though.

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Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:02 pm
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@JanVr
What if you make an upholstered cell around the platform and put some
plastic knee pads on and a boxing helmet?
Than you would get rid of the waist assembly. Would it be an option,
or would you fall too often?


Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:47 pm
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colocolo wrote:
@JanVr
What if you make an upholstered cell around the platform and put some
plastic knee pads on and a boxing helmet?
Than you would get rid of the waist assembly. Would it be an option,
or would you fall too often?



Instead of an upholstered cell it might be easier and cheaper to just use a trampoline net:
Image


Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:59 pm
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you are right, also a possible impact with the head would be much softer.
And of course much easier to disassemble.


Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:27 pm
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