Roto VR, the UK-based makers of the eponymous 360-degree VR chair, today announced its completed a £1.5 million (~$1.86 million) funding round. Investors include Consumer Venture Capital Trust, Pembroke VCT, and The TVB Growth Fund.

You may remember Roto VR from the company’s 2015 Kickstarter which was unfortunately cancelled after it fell short of its £85,000 (~$105,000) goal. Although the time was seemingly too early in VR’s consumer life cycle for such a device, its founders, Elliott Myers and Gavin Waxkirsh, pressed on with their mission of bringing the rotating VR chair to market.

Roto VR is touted for its ability to lessen motion sickness with its motorized auto-rotate function, avoid tangled cables with its integrated rotator cuff, and give the user a measure of haptic feedback as well.

“In [CEO Elliott Myers] we have found an entrepreneur who has solved a problem for the VR market with a solution that addresses the physical issues encountered whilst consuming VR content, as well as significantly enhancing the experience,” said Andrew Wolfson, CEO Pembroke Investment Managers LLP. “We see future customers coming from both the B2B and B2C markets, in fields such as experiential attractions, home, cinemas and shopping centres. The company has employed a high calibre of people, and we believe that the business is well placed to take advantage of this fast-growing market.”

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The company is slated to launch the consumer and office version of the Roto VR chair soon. Roto VR, which starts at $1,500 for the chair itself, is compatible with many consumer VR headsets.

Roto VR tells us they’ve since identified a number of market opportunities across a select range of industries in the out-of-home sectors, such as cinemas and arcades, and has begun developing “a range of products” in response.

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  • mellott124

    Interesting. Does it bother anyone else that the motion in the video side-by-side doesn’t match the chair movement?

    • Rumbleball

      sure it does. The chair is useless. As @rudlzavedno:disqus said:
      https://www.yawvr.com/

      • Kryojenix

        I wouldn’t say it’s useless. The seating position in RotoVR is much closer to normal for car-sim and flight-sim. As long as you have some requisite motion feedback your brain will fill-in a lot of the rest.
        After all, no one is going to do 360 degree barrel-roll or loop-the-loop in a Yaw VR…
        However, it is a bit ironic that the RotoVR does yaw only, while the one called YawVR does pitch and roll.

        • Elliott Myers

          Hi, thanks for engaging with this article. Agree with your comments about yaw and tilt.

          The most important message we need to get out, is that Roto solves big problems. Teleportation, motion sickness and tangling cables are the current user choice. By enabling continous yaw motion, and as it happens by a rather ingenious and intuitive Headtracking + motor methodology, Roto completely sidesteps the issue. Roto offers continuous and unbroken immersion. The fact that it’s packaged up as a chair is because it’s the only form factor that would physically work (we did not set out to make a chair, in fact we tried everything to avoid it).

          Add to that our inbuilt haptic feedback and various other things (almost too many to mention) we genuinely believe Roto has a chance to reshape the industry

    • Elliott Myers

      The VR screen motion follows the users’ head, not the chair.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Yaw VR motion simulator is so much better experience and it cost the same.

    • Kryojenix

      You’ve tried them both, have you?

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        There is no comparison. Yaw VR is a full motion simulator and Roto is only rolling chair. I own YawVR PRO and I’m very pleased by it’s performance. Profiles for some sims could be better, bet devs are updating them as we speak.

        • Kryojenix

          When I’ve tried both I’ll let you know if I agree with you or not.

  • Moe Curley

    Fixed rotation speed has to be improved.

    • Elliott Myers

      Roto turns at 22.5 rpm – is quite fast

      • I think Moe wants to have a variable rotation speed.

        • Elliott Myers

          Oh, Roto is totally variable speed

          • I think you have a nice product. Is there an API so developers can control the rotation from their app/game?

          • Elliott Myers

            Thanks, yes, we have an API as part of our sdk

      • Moe Curley

        Does the rotation of the chair match the rotation of the person in VR?

        • Elliott Myers

          Most games are set up to assume if the user ‘looks left and presses foward’ the users generally wants to walk in the direction they’re looking. Some in-game avatars walk in exactly the same direction as the users’ head is facing and some allow the in-game avatar to straighten up a bit first. Either way, Roto enables the user to look and walk wherever they want without neck ache, cables tangling, motion sickness or teleportation (any and all of which are vr immersion killers)

          • silvaring

            Sorry but unless you’re in a wheelchair in VR the feeling of walking while turning in a sitting rotating chair wont work. The only way a chair like this will work is with certain seated experiences, like rotating turrets. If you want it to work with racing games (which you should as its by far the biggest chunk of the seated sim market) you need to implement tilt functionality into the chair.

          • johngrimoldy

            I agree with you, simple rotation is not going to add to the immersion of a driving game. It’s really the wrong axis of movement. If anything, it’s going to feel weird. You need tilt capability to sell the illusion of centrifugal during a tight turn.

            Rollercoaster simulators are on full tilt bases. It’s the only way to “sell” the feeling of being pulled up the lift hill.

            Still, I’m glad they’re doing this chair since it will push the development forward.

          • Elliott Myers

            Thanks John. It’s kind of counter intuitive to say, but Roto is not a simulator. There’s plenty of decent simulators in the market, and as you say, tilt can help emulate g-force quite nicely (which we don’t support for various reasons). Roto is a solution to natural 360 exploration, which we ‘hope’ will have an influence on the wider market

          • Elliott Myers

            Hi Silvaring, please read the comments above. Whilst it seems obvious that, as a chair, we have created something for seated experiences, it isn’t really the case. Fundamentally, the industry has concluded that teleportation is the only way to solve locomotion in 360 VR. Roto offers an alternative that is intuitive (wherever you look Roto turns), comfortable (no need for physical exertion) and immersive (we built in strong haptics).

            Yes, Roto can also be used with traditional seated experiences (actually we aim to evolve these into 360 journeys not just facing towards as with current games) – that’s all exciting too, but the biggest challenge we address is how to roam around in VR without cables tangling, motion sickness or teleportation

  • Evol Love

    DOA

  • Trip

    As a motion sim enthusiast all these horrible and pointless motion simulators really make me angry. They have to know it’s terrible, so it’s just a cash grab.

    • Elliott Myers

      Hi, Roto is expressly not a motion simulator. Roto solves the problems of consuming 360 degree content whilst seated. Without Roto you have to teleport, get motion sick, or get tangled up.

      • Trip

        Or sit on a chair and turn it with your feet which works quite well with CyberShoes. Fair enough though, under some circumstances I can see this being useful depending on how it works. The problem IMO is biggest when “walking” or “running” in VR. “cockpit” experiences like racing and flying have the lowest liklihood of causing motion sickness but some people are certainly still susceptible. Thank you for your reply Elliott.

        • Elliott Myers

          Hi Trip, Cybershoes (or omnidirectional treadmills) convert physical ‘feet movement’ into digital button presses to emulate walking. This rarely feels natural for a bunch of reasons, but my comment is they don’t actually address the problems of how users can locomote in 360 degrees without teleportation, motion sickness or tangling cables. Roto solves this (big) problem with internal cable magazines, a motorized base and our headtracking technology. Now users can simply roam around simply by looking (which is super intuitive) and pressing forwards on a thumbstick (which doesn’t induce motion sickness for most people). No need for any physical exertion or illusion breaking teleportation.

        • Elliott Myers

          Cockpit experiences currently assume the user is sitting down and facing one direction, i.e. forwards.

          Roto supports existing cockpit games, but we’ve built something that enables the users physical chair to rotate in the real world – which together with our inbuilt tracking, means developers can match our movement in-game. So with Roto, vehicles can actually drive around a bend – the inner ear recognises the yaw rotation and so the experience feels far more realistic and therefore immersive.

      • Trip

        Elliott, you were right to call me out on that and I have read up on your design and edited my post completely to reflect my understanding of the intent of your device.

    • Elliott Myers

      Thanks Trip. Much appreciated. Roto adds experiential value to all genres, including games like Lone Echo. That’s a key point. Normally new hardware needs software support, but we found a way to way to enhance all content, past present and future.

  • Topper Nimble

    I would like to try it out before I make any decision if I would be interested.
    Wonder if they are going to demo it somewhere in the US?

  • drowhunter

    this must be an april fools joke

  • I remember them, but I wasn not convinced by them, actually. Happy for them they got the money, though. Good luck

    • Elliott Myers

      Thanks Tony. Much appreciated

  • JesperL

    I like the idea, but it does not look solid.
    Look in the end, when the 100 pound girl make the chair rock a lot.
    what happens when a big 220 pound guy like me goes to war in that seat?

    • Elliott Myers

      Roto supports 550 pounds. It’s super sturdy

      • Dan Lokemoen

        You should put some effort into making it LOOK like it’s sturdy, then, because it doesn’t.

        • Elliott Myers

          It does look sturdy in real life

  • Ben Van Deventer
  • Dan Lokemoen

    This looks worse than just spinning around in a normal office chair using your feet. For the price of this chair you could buy another PC and VR headset to play co-op with a buddy (and probably another chair).

  • tactfulgamer

    Need videos showing what Roto does “with real examples” with “real fun games being played” on several genre’s too much text here about what chair can do. Let’s see game play with…

    play Skyrim VR

    play Half Life Alyx

    play Elite Dangerous

    play No Mans Sky

    play Subnautica

    play Lone Echo (both multiplayer and single player story)

    Show (don’t talk) what this chair can do.

    More of videos like this… with recent or semi recent POPULAR games:
    https://youtu.be/M05TWs0MrXk

    NO more of these wack videos:
    https://youtu.be/4tgMfq-qxFQ