Moving around in VR environments usually means you’ll need to press down on a thumbstick or a touchpad. That’s all well and good for now, but it’s really not the most immersive way of getting around in large virtual spaces. Enter Brilliant Sole, a North Carolina-based VR startup working to bring VR controllers to the soles of your feet.
The company’s titular device includes nine axis IMUs for each foot, haptic motors, and Qi wireless charging. “Everything is embedded in the shoe insole,” Brilliant Sole CEO and founder Jeff Guard tells Hypepotamus.
It’s also said to emulate button presses from standard 6DOF controllers such as Oculus Touch and Vive motion controllers, letting you play seated, standing, and walking in-place while leaving your hands free for other tasks.
The device’s internal sensors are also said to track the foot’s force at specific pressure points to allow users to walk in place or in whatever direction they want to go.
Two haptic motors for each foot let users ‘feel’ the virtual world beneath their feet—something that could really up the immersion depending on the size of the T-Rex you’re hiding from.
“With Brilliant Sole, we ultimately want to be able to have you positionally track your feet (be able to look down and see them), then be able to control locomotion and feel the different ground surfaces underneath your feet through haptic feedback. It feels more natural than moving around with a joystick,” Guard says.
The company plans on launching Brilliant Sole to consumers in a crowdfunding campaign scheduled for early 2019.