VR Motion Platform ‘Feel Three’ Nearly Quadruples Kickstarter Goal as Campaign Comes to Close

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Feel Three, a 3DOF motion simulator for VR, went live on Kickstarter late last month. And owing to its vision in providing a relatively cost-effective solution among a sea of expensive motion platforms, the company not only blasted past their £50,000 funding goal within only five hours of launch, but have finished out their campaign today with an astounding £181,440 (~$237,000 USD).

Update (September 28th, 2018): Feel Three finished out their Kickstarter today with a whopping 263% fulfillment over their original Kickstarter funding goal. Project creator Mark Towner had this to say to backers:

“It’s been a long 4 years to this point and it’s all for you guys. I promise try my damn est to not screw it up and become another failed VR project. No distractions. No first class travel…. just first class vision. Your trust is well placed. Prepare to have your world moved!”

The original article detailing the project follows below:

Original Article (August 29th, 2018): The simulator is built on a half-sphere base, which sits atop a number of motors and special omnidirectional wheels, called ‘omni wheels’, that give the user three degrees of freedom: pitch, roll and yaw. Because of its relatively inexpensive design—it doesn’t include costly linear actuators, which can set you back around £1,000 to £2,000 each—the Feel Three is touted as an affordable solution, starting at £2,000 (~$2,570) for Super Early Birds.

“You’re lifting the user up and down [with linear actuators], which is really expensive mechanically—it takes a lot of power. So by using just omni wheels and DC motors, we can move the user quite quickly. They sit at the center of gravity, they’re balanced. It’s just a simpler solution,” says project founder Mark Towner.

 

The platform also includes tactile transducers, which add vibration from the game in several places, giving you an extra hit of immersion by letting you feel engine revs, gunfire and other impacts. The system’s tactile transducers are placed by your feet, hands and back.

Because it’s a device intended for VR users, tracking is also an important aspect. According to the Kickstarter page, a tracker near the player’s head “constantly updates the orientation of the sphere and cancels the movement of the simulator from the players view.” This is where a pain point arrises however:

“We need to track the platform and uses these readings to cancel the movement in your headset. Many motion simulators have a small range of pitch and roll so the user can simply keep looking forward despite the movement and chance of discomfort. This then means their view will float around in the car as they drive, which is fine for some people, not ok for others.”

Since the platform’s range of movement is so dramatic, motion cancellation will have to be figured out before it’s a perfect fit. Some of the ways the company suggest conquering this challenge include: individual game support, native engine support through Unreal or Unity, an API wrapper (which could break after headset software updates), native support through OpenXR, or native support from headset manufacturers. The company is currently boasting over 100 compatible games, some of which are non-VR games that can be played via a virtual screen while in-headset.

Still, it’s clear this sort of motion platform will appeal to VR simulator enthusiasts looking to fly in Elite Dangerous (2014) or drive in Project Cars 2 (2017), so Feel Three also includes a removable armrest plate so you can swap out and safely bolt down controllers. The final package is said to include armrest plates with pre-drilled holes for “the most popular controllers,” although the company will also provide a chart for other controllers so you can DIY your own setup.

 

As for steering wheels and center-mounted flight yokes, those can can be attached to what the creators call “a lightweight optional shelf which is attached to both armrests and can be rotated forward to let the user enter the cockpit.”

The company is providing their own software suite to control Feel Three, allowing users to adjust the speed and intensity of each game, as well as set limits on their physical rotation.

As a lower-tier item for £400 (~$515), backers can also choose the simulator’s static cockpit piece, which includes a chair mount, armrests, pedal shelf, and four 60W tactile transducers.

Hardware Specs

  • Pitch/Roll: 90/100 degrees
  • Yaw limit: 3600 degrees +
  • Speed: 70-120 degrees/sec (roll & pitch)
  • Weight: 60 kg sphere, 25 kg base (total 85 kg or ~187 lbs)
  • Power requirement base: 220/110V 600W
  • Power requirement sphere: 220/110V 600W
  • User height: 140-200 cm (~4 foot 7 inches – 6 foot 7 inches)
  • User weight limit 3/6 wheels: 110 kg (~240 lbs) / 135 kg (~300 lbs)
  • Materials: 98% aluminium
  • PC requirements: Win 8+, two USB 2.0

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here, which includes a comprehensive FAQ.

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  • Jason Fice

    First of all, I’m excited by the design and concept of this motion platform.

    This article could do a better job pointing to the fact that they don’t have a way to cancel motion of the platform for the oculus platform. The kickstarter seems to say they have a solution for the Vive in some games, but nothing for oculus. This seems like important info to share.

    • Feel Three VR Motion

      We’ve been totally transparent on the Kickstarter (unlike others) about the Oculus situation and will be heading to Connect for the fourth time to try to persuade them to unbreak what was recently working. We also outlined SIX solutions to this issue and are confident now that we’re funded that we can implement a timely solution…. and SteamVR support is 100% for all games.

      • Lucidfeuer

        Hey there, we recently wanted to order some motion VR chairs when we discovered, fortunately soon enough to cancel it, that they were only compatible with 360° video and not real-time Oculus experiences…any limitation or reasons why that is not possible?

        • sebrk

          Which chair is this you are talking about?

      • ummm…

        i left a scathing comment above………but if you guys are passionate and feel you ahve solutions then good luck. i wont be along for the early part of this ride.

      • Klaus

        @feelthreevrmotion:disqus We have a solution for this problem, mainly for automotive applications, but it should work with your motion platform as well. It works as a SteamVR driver (so far VIVE (Pro) only, but could work with Oculus too) so any SteamVR game is supported. Please contact us if interested: klaus@lp-research.com

    • Michael

      For the Oculus, why dont you mount a sensor on the platform itself.

      Since it is for flight or driving simulation, you just need one sensor mounted front side of platform. This way the sensor moves along with the motion of the platform so no need to cancel anything. Just make sure the senor mount is sturdy enough so that it does not shake for the abrupt motion changes.

      • Jdawg

        It could work but isn’t long term solution as the camera starts acting up as well and its life is reduced. It works on subtle 2dof platforms fine and many users are doing it. the steamVR motion cancellation based on some guys initial work uses a controller mounted on the rig and he cancels that motion, not sure what these guys are using but will be interesting to follow. I really hope steamVR adds built-in motion cancellation with some port it listens to that all motion sim engines can send to in a common format.

      • Jason Fice

        It is my understanding that Oculus use an IMU (inertial measurement unit – accelerometers, gyros, and magnetometer) and their 3d Infrared sensors to track head position. Therefore, mounting the sensors to the platform won’t work because although the 3d Infrared sensors would then be ‘corrected’ the IMU readings would be uncorrected. I suspect the Oculus algorithms would not work well being fed two streams of data that greatly diverge.

        • Michael

          I meant only using one IR camera sensor mounted on the platform and disconnect the rest of them. Since the touch controllers are not needed, only once sensor can handle the tracking of the headset position. But if IMU data from the Headset itself is causing the mismatching motion information against the IR camera sensor’s reading, I guess that would be the problem.

      • John Horn

        FeelThree already has and does this. The problem is Oculus software.

  • ummm…

    floating view. get the eff outta here. get a motion seat. why the eff would i want to add more systems that complicate this ish?

    • Axa

      You don’t need to. Better not even use VR goggles, complicating stuff too. I suggest to get a XBox or Playstation, that will keep things nice & easy.
      This is aimed at those who want to increase immersion at the cost of money, space & effort.

      • ummm…

        No I dont min space, cost , mo ey. I live in NYC in anapartment and had pre-ordered. This is about usability. I saw this product a while back. It is nothing novel. This is about usability. They even thought enough of it to give special caveats about the state of their tech. Go … Away

  • Alexisms

    Who hasn’t wanted to be thrown about in a wok!?

  • Rand

    I would need to try one out before I bought one. I have flown simulators in some arcade style setups but never in VR. I would need to see how much it adds to the sensations. It was only mildly interesting in the arcade as it mostly just got in the way. The missing G-Force allowing you to flop around in what would be anything but floppy in real life. Now if you could put me into a centrifuge that rolled around and responded to the throttle …. OMG I would play in that thing all day…. of course you would need a pretty large space for such a toy lol.

  • gothicvillas

    Not sure why they didn’t show using steering wheel in theit wok pan..

    • Feel Three VR Motion

      time…. we only had a day to shoot in the room.

      • Alexisms

        I hope it all woks out for you ;)

  • impurekind

    Seems a bit like overkill to me considering it’s only useful for a few types of games, but each to their own if they have the money and space to spare.

    • Axa

      Sure, you will not use it for Onward or Skyrim. But those, who are into flight/space sims or racing sims actually tend to go beyond the XBox controller or mouse/keyboard input. And these guys, like me, tend to spend substantial parts of their gaming time with such experiences. Not only because we like these games, but because these kind of cockpit games give you an intense experience of the simulated activity which is really captivating. And with the movement added by this rig it will intensify even much more.
      But I totally agree, if you’re not into this kind games anyhow, this is neither worth your money nor space.

  • HomeAudio

    Why did they not give an option of full sphere? It will be more fun if you will seat head down (for example in fly simulators). For different experiences top part of sphere could be removed;)

    • Feel Three VR Motion

      How do you get power, USB and HMD data in and out of the sim and keep tracking? Use batteries that only last an hour? It’s 5 times the prototyping effort, for three times the price and only a 20% improvement. We did the calculations… it’s not worth it right now….

    • Axa

      It says in their FAQ – it would be difficult due to the cabling, ventilation and sturdiness but they have it a s one of their (slightly more remote) vision goals.

    • Trent Gunthorpe
    • Runar Botnen Totland

      complicates thing ten fold. ;-)

  • Well, I remember them from 2014, when I started VR. It’s great that they worked hard all these years and now hit the Kickstarter goal. Good luck for them!

  • John Zhang

    Looks nice, how to fit the games motion?
    use 3 dof system like this: https://www.stekiamusement.com/vr-racing-virtual-reality-car-driving-simulator/ ?

  • HomeAudio

    Still very expensive and little big :(

  • MosBen

    Yeah, this looks awesome, and hopefully I’ll have a barn some day to allow me to have things this big.

  • John Horn

    An amazing product. I also love the fact that the creator Mark doesn’t bother with stretch goals. He’s a man who does what he says.

    I only regret I couldn’t afford either the money or the space for this wonder.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Who will do the repairs when its down.Doesn’t look like a common item to have fixed and cant imagine it not having problems with all the use ? I love Jesus God’s Son who saved my life and soul.

    • Bryan Ischo

      If you pray hard enough Jesus may fix it for you?

      • Smokey_the_Bear

        lol

      • JesuSaveSouls

        Actually true.Not sure if your sarcastic or mocking but your right.With my budget faith always trumps finances.

        • Bryan Ischo

          Well I’m happy you have your faith, but please recognize that there are appropriate forums for announcing it and this is not one of them.

    • jj

      HAIL SATAN!

      • JesuSaveSouls

        Dude your back at it with the foolish satanic attitude.

        • jj

          Not nearly as foolish as your jeSUSS beliefs… Stop bring religion into that discussions it’s sad and pathetic. Anything that uses the fear of eternal damnation for people who dont blindly follow, is a manipulative scam. Just the blind faith part should have raised a red flag for you. “Do as I say but don’t look into it, just do it” is what terrorists tell children and their actions are often religiously motivated too… Hmm makes you think doesn’t it? Oh wait no cause you’re told not to think and just herd your entire life. :)