• VR Not Goofy Enough For You? Try VR Roller Skates

    Date:21 November 2018 Author: Brendon Petersen Tags:,

    Not content with merely a pair of googles? Maybe the next VR technology will be roller skates. A new Google patent, spotted by Ars Technica, shows that the Alphabet subsidiary is looking into how to increase VR range through special footwear.

    Google’s patent calls it “motorized footwear” which can be tracked and monitored in a physical environment. The “movement of the footwear,” the patent goes on, “may be translated into corresponding in a virtual environment.”

    google vr mechanical sneaker guts

    A closer look at what the mechanical shoe’s guts would look like, complete with treads and motors GOOGLE/USPTO

    The spacial challenges of VR are ongoing. VR devices like the HTC Vive are built for exploring a 15 x 15-foot room, for example, and the promise of VR has always been unlimited space to explore. But how to move around that world without physically having people walk into walls or traffic?


    There have been a few ideas, like having people walk around in circles to create new motion. Other attempts have included what are known as VR treadmills, walking surfaces like theVirtuix Omni that can move in any direction.

    google mechanical vr rollerskate sideview

    How the shoe would function with motors, sensors, and wheels. GOOGLE/USPTO

    Google’s hypothetical shoes, which may never exist in non-patent form, would work within walled rooms. There would be monitors on the shoes that could detect walls and would then work to reel the wearer back in towards safety. With omnidirectional wheels, they could move in any direction.

    There are lots of questions that a patent simply isn’t equipped to answer—what would keep a user from falling over, for example? Could injuries with other users become more frequent with higher speeds? The patent even notes this issue, saying that “physical objects in the physical environment in which the system is operated may affect a user’s ability to move or interact within the physical environment while immersed in the virtual environment.” In other words, a user might bump into something.

    Google Rollerskate in action drawing

    What the user experience wearing these hypothetical rollerskates might look like. GOOGLE/USPTO

    If Google ever moves forward with the idea, they’ll have to find solutions to these potential problems—or create a VR roller derby, which would be pretty cool too.

    Source: Ars Technica

    Originally posted on Popular Mechanics

    You may also like:

    Latest Issue :

    January 2019