Traversal of VR spaces is still one of the hardest things to get right. At one point, we all thought that home-based omnidirectional treadmills would be the ultimate in VR setups at home. In truth, the home market for this sort of product is simply too niche. So now the only place you’re likely to find commercial omnidirectional treadmills is in a mall or arcade.
That means most movement in VR is done with a handheld controller. The latest generation VR motion controllers all have thumbsticks you can use to walk around just as you would in a video game driven by gamepad. Moving around in VR apps themselves can be quite awkward, which is why so many decide to keep things stationary. “Teleporting” from one point to another is a reliable, if awkward solution, that we’ve seen in high profile games like Doom VFR.
Brilliant Sole wants to take all the footwork out of your hands and move it where it belongs – your feet.
Their idea is to have an insole packed with sensors. So that the movement of your feet will control your movement. Now, this doesn’t mean you actually have to run around with 1:1 tracking. It just means that the control surfaces that would usually be operated by hand are now on your feet.
The insole has a nine axis IMU per foot, haptic feedback motors and wireless charging. While it may be no more than a controller emulator at this point, it sure is packed with both a lot of tech and a lot of potential.
Having these insoles installed means you can stand up or sit down, while working the sensors with your feet. It means half as much work to do per limb and promises a more immersive experience. Having haptic feedback (feetback?) also sounds like a novel experience, although there’s no telling how well that translated or which applications will support it properly.
There’s no mention of price or release date yet. However, you can sign up to be notified of the launch, in case your feet are just itching to be let into the game. Moreover, the company is planning to run a crowdfunding campaign early in 2019, where you can put in your hot preorder.