Freeaim VR Shoes, while still at prototype level, are the newest virtual reality (VR) toy that will soon hit the market. And they may shake existing technology already on sale.
Here are the prototypes being tested.
VR allows users to experience immersive and realistic simulations of various environments and scenarios. However, one of the main challenges of VR is how to move around in the virtual world without breaking the immersion or feeling uncomfortable.
Most VR systems use treadmill-ish type devices to simulate walking, but this can have some drawbacks. Treadmills are bulky, super-expensive, and require a lot of space. They can cause motion sickness too, which is not fun.
Freeaim Technologies is a London-based company that aims to solve this problem with its flagship product called Freeaim VR Shoes. These shoes are a wearable device that enable users to walk infinite distances and in any direction in VR, while staying within a small play space.
The Freeaim VR Shoes use motorised treadmills under the feet that drive them to a calibrated position based on machine learning algorithms. The treadmills are connected to sensors that detect the user’s movements and adjust accordingly.
The Freeaim VR Shoes offer several advantages over existing VR systems. They are way more affordable, they are compact, and they are easy to use.
They don’t require any external power source or wires, and according to the company, they don’t interfere with other devices or accessories.
According to Freeaim, they do not cause motion sickness or discomfort for most users.
CEO Ashley Foxcroft said the VR Shoes will provide “a much needed, far better solution to natural walking and movement for VR which is affordable, compact and easier to use, and most importantly, fun and immersive.” He added that he thinks the VR Shoes “will become the next important VR accessory alongside Haptic gloves.”
That’s if they work as promised! It’s hard to know yet as they are not fully on the market, so reviews are hard to come by.
What do they cost?
The pre-order price is USD $499 (AU$742) which sounds pricey, however if you are a hardcore VR gamer, then it’s really only seven nights out converted into seven nights in.
Other companies have tried to offer a true metaverse experience, one of them being STEPVR, a Beijing company that focuses on VR technology research and development, on May 26, 2022 in Beijing.
The StepVR metaverse gate is a VR device that allows users to enter the virtual world. It has an omnidirectional motion system that enables users to run freely and achieve running and instant stopping movements. It also has technical equipment that restores five senses: vision, hearing, touch, smell, and vestibular balance. This means that users can experience the real and immersive virtual world in a small space.
Will this bulky piece of kit be replaced by some ingenious shoes? Stranger things have happened. Let’s stay tuned!