As the VR community continues to grow, a lot of novel accessories have continued to be released to support the space. Now looking for funding via a newly launched Kickstarter, one of the more intriguing VR projects to date has come about, and it could have some pretty substantial benefits in the fitness space.
Developed by Mechatech, AgileVR is a new “exoskeleton based locomotion controller for virtual reality” that looks to alleviate some common issues that stem from playing VR games. The project is looking to raise a little over $154,000 by next month on June 4, 2020. As of this writing, it has presently raised around $6,500.
“In VR digital landscapes you move by teleporting or using your trackpad. Methods that compromise authentic immersion often causing motion-sickness. AgileVR is our solution to these locomotion problems,” says the description of the product on Kickstarter. “When wearing the AgileVR on your legs, the software captures your movements and transmits them via Bluetooth to your PC to control your movements in VR.”
All in all, AgileVR is most notably said to help reduce motion sickness by making movement feel far more natural than it already does while in VR. Additionally, occlusion, which is when external sensors cannot track you any longer for one reason or another, is said to be nonexistent due to how the sensors in AgileVR are built from the inside-out. Because of this, you don’t need external devices to know where you’re at and track your movement while playing.
When it comes to the realm of VR fitness, the largest benefit that AgileVR might offer could come in the way of calorie burning. With movement being much more natural and more comfortable for those who use it, Mechatech hopes that it will encourage more users to stand up while playing VR games and move about rather than staying seated. While there are numerous VR applications that double as workout routines for you to use (Supernatural, BoxVR, Beat Saber, etc.), even playing more standard gaming experiences that would require you to actively move your own feet to travel in the game’s world would increase the calories that you’re burning. It’s a simple concept, but one that could help many to slowly reach their fitness goals.
And on a personal note, as someone who experiences VR sickness from time to time when playing, AgileVR sounds like a potential godsend. My own VR headset doesn’t get as much use as I’d like it mainly because any time I play games where I have to walk around too much, I can suffer from queasiness. If AgileVR really works to the degree that Mechatech says that it does, then this sounds perfect for me and I’m sure others out there mirror those feelings.
The current build of AgileVR is compatible with Oculus Rift, Rift S, Quest with Oculus Link, HTC VIVE through Oculus Home, and SteamVR. If the Kickstarter goal is met, additional functionality for HTC Vive, Valve Index, and Pimax headsets will also be coming. Wireless Oculus Quest headsets and PlayStation VR are also listed in the stretch goals for the project, too.
For more information on AgileVR, you can check out the game’s extended pitch over on Kickstarter right here. As of now, Mechatech prospectively has AgileVR set to begin shipping out to backers in January 2021.