New Scientist Tech – Powered shoes – perfect for a virtual stroll – Breaking News
A pair of motorised roller skates that cancel out a person’s steps could let users naturally explore virtual reality landscapes in confined spaces.
The “Powered Shoes” were developed by Hiroo Iwata, Hiroshi Tomioka and Hiroaki Yano at the University of Tsukuba in central Japan. The shoes will be demonstrated at the SIGGRAPH 2006 conference on computer graphics and interactive technologies, which takes place in Boston, US, between 30 July and 3 August.
Each shoe is mounted on top of a set of three motorised rollers and is connected by cable to a computer on the user’s back. This computer controls both the motion of skates and a head-mounted display that shows the user a virtual landscape.
As the wearer walks forwards, the connected computer controls the rollers under their feet, cancelling out their strides. The computer also updates the visual display to create the illusion of walking through the virtual world.