We’ve seen some pretty crazy VR-focused motion controllers at Road to VR over the years, but this latest offering from UK based VRGO probably makes the top 5. A wireless motion controller using inertial input that you sit on. Their £20,000 Kickstarter campaign has just gone live, we take a closer look.
A solution to the question of how you control virtual reality experiences is still very much unanswered at this time. Solutions from Oculus Touch to the HTC Vive Steam VR controllers have their own take on how best to tackle the issue, but there’s still room for innovation in the field.
One company has taken the challenge of tackling the issues of yaw-control induced sickness (right analogue stick for most of us) which plague traditional games presented in VR, with an entirely approach. VRGO offers a seat, loaded with inertial sensors that let you control your VR avatar’s locomotion and rotation entirely by moving the seat under your own weight.
VRGO is a faintly bizarre looking, egg-shaped ‘controller’ which attaches to the device powering your VR experience, be that a PC or mobile phone, via bluetooth and delivers what the Kickstarter campaign page calls an “intuitive and consumer friendly hands free movement controller for virtual reality.”
Tilting forward and back moves your character in the corresponding direction, whilst side to side does the same. Because the chair can also be freely rotated, a la swivel chair without the backrest obstruction, in theory this solution offers a less obstructive and more naturalistic way to move around virtual worlds.
Connectivity with your host device is initiated via a ‘one touch’ control panel on the front of the device.
The chair somewhat interestingly breaks apart too, revealing a central compartment for you to store your VR headset – or anything else that fits in the cavity I guess.
The videos of the device in use certainly emphasise its uniqueness, although there’s not much in the way of fast, 180 / 360 swivels, and no mention of Gear VR compatibility (merely ‘mobile phones are mentioned) – an obvious candidate for the device. It certainly seems to work, although I can’t help but feel precise control (including sharp starts and stops) might be tricky to pull off when input is based entirely on your own body weight. The device is by default set to deliver input greater than 1:1, purportedly to resolve wire-tangling accidents on PC based headsets.
Having said that, we haven’t tried it and it might well offer a useful solution for those irritated or indeed affected by traditional yaw-control / rotational gamepad input.
The Kickstarter pledge tiers for backers to get their hands on a VRGO chair start at £175, for which you’ll receive one VRGO controller chair and at a supposed 30% discount.
As far as exploring the undiscovered country that is VR input, we’re all for innovative ‘out of the box’ thinking, VRGO is nothing if not that. We’ll reserve judgement on it’s efficacy for now however, but would love to hear from readers who have backed the campaign and/or have tried it for themselves.