Google Patents Motorized VR Shoes


Staff member
Mar 3, 2018
According to UploadVR, Google has filed a patent application for motorized VR walking shoes. Apparently, Google is trying to tackle the issue of VR "playspaces" requiring large indoor areas or expensive, bulky hardware to be effective. By adding physical feedback to the "infinite redirected walking" visual illusion some approaches already uses, Google seems to think that realistic VR spaces could be simulated in reasonably sized rooms.

As you’re walking towards the edge of the room, the motors in the shoes will activate in the opposite direction when your feet touch the ground. Until recently, the main approach to physically walking through large virtual environments has been omnidirectional treadmills (ODTs) such as Kat Walk Mini or Omni. ODTs are pretty great at providing a true feeling of walking, but their sheer size means they are expensive both to build and to ship. Many people wouldn’t be able to fit them through their doors, requiring “assemble on delivery” designs that are even more complex and costly. A much more simple approach to VR shoes is that of the recently successful Cybershoes Kickstarter. Cybershoes approach is to have the player seated on a bar stool like chair and slide along a slippery surface with slippery shoes. Very simple rollers transmit movement data back to the PC, but they are not motorized in any way. The main advantage of Cybershoes is its significantly lower cost compared to alternatives. The disadvantage of the Cybershoes, and the main problem Google’s approach seems to be tackling is that it only works seated.
Love the idea.......

Implementation may not be so good thou.

Love the idea, implementation though....we are YEARS away from seeing anything viable.
Guarantee it
If you thought tripping was scary, now do it when you can't see what's in front of you. I see this as needing a lot of refinement, especially if you want to "walk" long distances. It will need to push you back as fast as you move forward, that will disorient people.
Something like this is absolutely necessary. VR games/experiences where you stand or move physically in your guarded space are awesome. But the peeing movement, where you make your controller pee and teleport to wherever the puddle falls is absolutely horrible and using the thumbsticks to glide around is literally nauseating even in short distances. While the 3D treadmill looks nice, there is no way that will ever be affordable; even 2D treadmills aren't. Likewise, anything that has you harnessed, hanging from cables is always going to be way too expensive and too much setup for party games. So it's going to be either one of the "walking in a bowl" solutions, which require a large, tall device sitting permanently in your living room or some kind of shoe like like this one. All these solutions seem to be at 90s VR level, but I wish them all the luck in the world and can't wait for the first walking device that makes a breakthrough on the scale of what Oculus did.