Robot Boots: Ekto VR Launch World’s First Robotic VR Movement Shoes

robot boots
Image Source: EktoVR

As technology has advanced over the years, new concepts for gaming, such as VR technology have been introduced, changing the dynamics of the industry. There are many different ways VR is being integrated into the gaming industry, and in most cases, to play in a virtual reality world, users must wear a headset.

However, since its inception, one of the biggest challenges when using technology with gaming is the restrictions of locomotion. Unable to feel fully immersed, users who game with VR headsets are restricted to movement. So as much as they are in a new virtual world, they can not move as much. This can also cause motion sickness as their bodies remain stationary, but in the virtual world, they are moving, playing tricks on the mind. 

Because of this reason most games give users a teleportation option which allows users to “blink” to spots in the game without them having to move through the virtual space. 

There are also other locomotion issues which come with VR gaming when users move around the physical space. There can be accidents when stepping out of the boundaries that the game offers. This can consist of walking into walls or furniture. Even if users pay attention to the boundary warnings, they may find themselves having to constantly move back into the centre of the designated VR area, which can be quite a hassle. 

One company who is working on trying and solving these problems is Ekto VR with the concept of robotic boots. Ekto’s VR boots let users physically walk to propel them through VR. However, the smart thing about the boots is that when users take physical steps when wearing the boots, they don’t actually move around the room they are in. This means the boots remain stationary in the real world as users take their steps in the VR world

When users lift one foot to step forward, the boots roll the users planted foot backwards at the same time, creating a sensation of walking. The sensation is much like walking on a treadmill but wearing robot boots. As the player does this, they are taking steps which move them through the game but not real life. This means, wearing the boots can help prevent accidents around the player’s surroundings and prevent motion sickness.

(Chart showing VR gaming revenue. Souce: Statista) 

Although the boots open the door for a new way of VR gaming, there are some downsides. First, users will only be able to slow walk in them, which makes them ideal for VR escape rooms but less useful for games which require natural reaction or combat games. If users need to move fast or become surprised or startled, they won’t be able to crouch, crawl or even kneel, making the game less immersive. Another fact to consider that the boost will make users considerably taller, which can distort the game itself. The height of the boots will make it harder for users to judge the real floor from the virtual floor, making the experience a little more hard to cope with.

One of the biggest issues to consider with the boots is that if users lose their balance. As their boots are slightly off the ground, users can fall and injure themselves, not mentioning falling with all the kit on including the VR headset and controllers in their hands. 

The advancement in VR gaming shows promise for the sector and the type of technology that can be expected in the future. The boots offer great insights into how VR gaming accessories can change the experience for the users when incorporated with smart personal devices

Although there are still some issues to be considered with the boots, they do offer a stepping stone for improvements. As with all types of technologies, they have to start somewhere, and this could be the beginning of the next best technology for VR gaming.

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