VRgo chair offers hands-free virtual reality navigation
Ever-advancing headsets and dazzling new content may promise captivating new virtual worlds to experience, but controlling our movement once we're in there is an equally important piece of the VR puzzle. While hand-held controllers have been the go-to tool for the industry's big players, one startup is looking to another body part to guide us through gaming's newest dimension. The VRgo chair is a tilting input device that moves the user through a virtual reality setting by tracking the direction of their derrière, freeing up the hands for other tasks, like wielding weapons.
With custom-built sensors and Bluetooth 4.0 built in, VRgo is a curved stool that works much like a virtual joystick for VR gaming, connecting with any game with a keyboard or joypad input. Its creators say it has been designed to take natural body motion and translate it to on-screen movements.
So leaning forward in the contoured seat, for example, moves the in-game character in that direction. The same goes for any orientation they face with the self-righting chair, which is able to spin a full 360 degrees. Tilting right and left will translate to strafing.
VRgo's creators hope the device can help to overcome one of the noted problems facing VR, motion sickness. They claim yaw (turning) to be one of the main factors driving this queasiness, and because a user seated in the Vrgo chair will be turning in-synch with their on-screen character, they say the sickness felt by some users can be reduced.
VRgo works on an analog range, so the further the tilt, the faster the character will move in that direction. The yaw motion is set at more than 1:1, meaning that turning on the chair will translate to greater turns in the game. This is intended to avoid wire tangling and makes things a little easier for players, though the company says the setting can be customized in most games.
Weighing 4 kg (8.8 lb) and no bigger than an office chair, VRgo is designed to be compact and portable, after all, not everyone has room at home for an omnidirectional VR treadmill. Charged via Micro USB, it can also function wirelessly with the battery said to last five hours of use at a time, so it can be used any place the user has a mobile headset, like the Gear VR, handy.
VRgo also opens up to double as a storage device for headsets, cables, headphones and anything else you might want to toss inside.
A Kickstarter campaign for the device is set to kick off on November 3, with early pledges to begin at £150 (US$230). Its makers expect it to retail for £250 (US$385).
You can check out the campaign trailer below.