Virtual reality offers a gaming experience more immersive than any traditional platform, but it’s limited when it comes to movement. Teleporting or simply pressing an analog stick can pull you out of the experience. WalkOVR is looking to change that with its motion nodes system, and you’ll be able to use it across practically any headset.
Run in place with a smile on your face
WalkOVR is designed to track your lower body’s movement while you’re playing a typical VR game. With nodes on your ankles, knees, and torso, it is able to determine when you are running in place. This allows it to not only move your character in a direction, but do so at a speed determined by the intensity of your movement.
For games with an emphasis on fitness already, WalkOVR will obviously further enhance their workout potential. However, it’s also compatible with a number of non-fitness-oriented VR games, and can make them more intense and sweaty. Fallout 4 VR, Skyrim VR, Minecraft, Serious Sam 3 VR, and Arizona Sunshine are among those tested by the developer. If a game has smooth locomotion, it should work, and WalkOVR can even replace a keyboard movement system.
WalkOVR makes a great companion for VR workouts not just for its natural movement, but its ease of use. The nodes are attached with straps and only take about a minute to set up, and they can track everything from miles walked to calories burned.
WalkOVR is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and it nearly doubled its initial goal after just a few days. The goal is to have the systems shipped to backers by September, and if it hits $100,000 it will support movement decoupling. At $500,000 the system will support node extensions, possibly increasing the maximum from five to 15.
The WalkOVR team is no stranger to virtual locomotion. Prior to developing the node system, the company created an omni-directional treadmill. A treadmill will take up a great amount of space, though, which the WalkOVR looks to avoid. With a wireless Bluetooth-enabled setup and up to four hours of battery life, there is very little stopping you from running through your favorite worlds.