Vienna-based startup Cybershoes recently launched their much-awaited Kickstarter campaign, which seeks to commercialize the titular device that allows you to ‘walk’ in VR with your own two feet. Now, the Kickstarter has blasted past its initial funding goal and is full steam ahead.
Update (October 3rd, 2018): Still with 28 days to go, nearly 500 backers have put down a collective total of more than €100,000 (~$115,000 USD) at the time of this writing. Cybershoes has a few stretch goals ahead, including guaranteed support for z-scaling at $300,000 and a yet undetermined funding tier that will unlock software support for jumping. The project creator haven’t issued an update, so it’s uncertain what extra stretch goals they’ve planned. The original article follows below:
Original Article (October 2nd, 2018): The idea is pretty simple: the shoe coverings feature a barrel-style wheel, that when spun, translates to forward and backwards VR movement. Sitting on a swivel stool, you mimic a walking movement and travel in the desired direction.
We went hands-on at this year’s Gamescom, and it appears Cybershoes basically accomplishes what it set out to do: increase immersion and reduce VR-related nausea. And while Cybershoes aren’t a perfect solution, the device makes a compelling case for lighter, space-saving locomotion controllers that aren’t nearly as disastrous to the pocketbook like the larger, heavier, more expensive VR treadmills out there.
When we tried Cybershoes at Gamescom in August, strafing wasn’t a possibility, as the device lets you move forward and backwards, but not left to right; if you want to go left, you can either use an artificial locomotion method like snap-turn, or physically swivel yourself in that direction. The creators have since implemented ‘directional’ walking though, which makes your point of view independent from the shoes’ walking direction—something the creators claim is a more natural way of walking through and viewing the virtual environment.
A pair of Cybershoes comes with a wireless radio receiver (not Bluetooth) that connects via USB to your PC. Requiring three hours of charging via Micro USB, the creators say you should have between eight to ten hours of playtime. Since the shoes emulate button presses, any PC VR game with ‘free’ locomotion should technically support Cybershoes, including games such as Skyrim VR, Arizona Sunshine, Onward and Rec Room to name a few.
The basic funding tier, which includes a pair of shoes, costs €193 (~$223 USD), although a Super Early Bird tier cuts that down to €151 (~$175 USD). You will of course need a swivel chair and probably some way to suspend the headset’s cable (the company suggests IKEA’s Regolit lamp holder).
Milled from a single block of conductive plastic, the shoes are quite sturdy and are said to support up to 220lb / 100kg. A user’s full weight probably shouldn’t rest on the shoes though, as walking in them could result in a fall.
The campaign, which is set to last a month, is hoping to garner at least €30,000 (~$34,600 USD) in funding.
For more, check out the video below: