When TechCrunch went to Beijing lately, I got the chance to try out KatVRs Kat Walk virtual reality walking simulation rig. The setup encircles the players waist, to be maintained upright no matter whats going on in virtual space, while the special shoes and a slick plastic pad, both laden with sensors, help translate your perambulation into virtual action.
The VR setup isnt designed for home use; theres a $9,000 price tag, for one, and it takes up an nasty lot of space. But KatVR is already selling these to arcades in China, which are investing in virtual reality in a big route. And down the road, the idea is to come up with a version that could work for consumers.
Using it with a demo shooter was absolutely immersive. The Vive headset and controller delivered a very good, and highly accurate sense of being in the environment, which was basically an interactive outdoor develop compound for some kind of soldiers. Use the pad at first caused me some anxiety, but once you realise youre not going to fall or slip, stepping comes quite naturally and its terrific how closely it can track your motion and orientation in-game.
Kat Walk and other systems like it are the future of VR at least until were comfy with neural implants that simulate physical sensations without us actually having to experience them through our outdated meat bodies.