Bristol, UK-based designer Joe Ryan launched his first Kickstarter back in 2015, the VRGO chair locomotion device, which saw a modest £22,100 (~$27,000) in crowdfunds. Now, a smaller form factor version of the device is being launched through a new Kickstarter campaign, the VRGO Mini.

Update (September 5th, 2019): VRGO Mini is now officially funded, surpassing its £20,000 goal with a little over 20 days to spare. There are still plenty of open slots for the Super Early Bird backer tier, which is priced at £119 (~$145).

The original article announcing VRGO Mini follows below:

Original Article (August 28th, 2019): The Kickstarter is searching for £20,000 (~$24,400) in funds. As an ‘all or nothing’ campaign, the project will need to reach the full amount before the campaign’s end on September 26th, 2019. At the time of this writing, the campaign is a little less than half-way there at nearly £7,000.

Here’s how it works: the VRGO Mini is a device that sits on top of your chair, which lets you locomote through VR by using a ’tilt-to-move’ scheme. It uses an inertial measurement unit (IMU), which is necessarily comprised of an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnometer, which tells the game which direction the user is turning or tilting.

Essentially, it’s like a 3dRudder that you sit on, requiring you to lean in the desired direction and working on the same principle: if you involve enough of your body in a physical movement that directly translates to in-game locomotion, you’re less likely to experience the disconnect that causes the dreaded flop sweats of motion-related sickness.

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Unlike 3dRudder though, VRGO Mini can come with integrated haptics, which is an optional funding tier starting at £149 (~$180). The absolute cheapest price (without haptics) is set at £119 (~$145), a bit more expensive than the standard PCVR-compatible 3dRudder is today, which comes in at $99.

Image courtesy Joe Ryan

VRGO Mini is said to support a wide variety of devices including all SteamVR-compatible headsets, mobile VR headsets via gamepad emulation, PSVR (using Cronusmax dongle), as well as non-VR games through keyboard emulation.

The Kickstarter is promising “over 100 VR games and experiences” supported at launch, and is said to arrive as early as March 2020.

The device itself is promised to support up to 150 kg (~330 lbs), and deliver up to eight hours of continuous gameplay provided by its internal battery, which can be quick charged in an hour’s time.

Check out the Kickstarter page here for more information.

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  • Thomas Hall

    Why does it need an accelerometer, gyroscope or magnometer? Surely just a two axis button (like a joystick) would do fine.

    • Caven

      Because the player sits on the controller and it needs to track three axes. One axis is needed for rotation to determine which direction your body is aiming so that the movement reference is decoupled from the HMD. Another axis is used for handling forward/reverse movement by tilting forward or back in the chair. The third axis is used for strafing left and right.

      Considering that this is a controller that’s operated by your butt, there’s no way buttons or a joystick would be enough to handle three axes.

  • The Bard

    What a stupid idea. Basically a chair.

    • asshat

      hey everyone listen up, the village idiot is sharing his opinion……

    • asdfasdfasdf

      the connection of moving your body in relation in the game reduces motion sickens by a tremendous amount. When 99% of movement is virtual, because otherwise youd be restricted to just your play space, this makes a huge difference.

  • Moriar

    that is realy badass :)

    • CazCore

      bad on your ass?

  • Jarilo

    Steer with your ass.

    • Greyl

      and Jump with your farts!

  • Greyl

    I think we need a device like this, but designed for our feet, not our ass.

  • And

    Fart to go faster

  • Nate Vander Plas

    Looks like a decent solution to motion sickness, with room for improvement for sure. For instance- haptics on your butt seem a bit… strange? Also, why not use pressure sensors instead of IMU, like the old Wii Fit board? It could be more compact since it wouldn’t need the ball pivot on the bottom, and maybe it could work sitting or standing. Finally, why does the light and charging port have to be right between your legs? I thought this was a camera at first glance and had some big questions!

    • appleman

      pressure senses dont truly capture the angle you’re going for and having the angle just allows a lot more detail in control. Ive also tried some similar solutions and can testify that it helps motion sickness a lot

    • Caven

      In addition to what appleman said, the IMU is needed to track rotation so that the pad knows which way your body is pointing. Otherwise, it would have to rely on the HMD to know which way to apply movement.

  • Warp

    Surely I could get the same result for much cheaper by shoving a joystick up my butt? Will update with results.

  • Pablo C

    I guess this is great for sitting VR, which I personally rarely do.

  • The a*s vibration feature may find some interesting applications in some dedicated niches… IFYKWIM

  • SataNeedSoulsToo

    Out of all the locomotion options available and on the horizon this looks the stupidest imho. Sit and shift your weight around in a chair so immersive!!

  • zek

    It’s just an analog stick that you sit on?

    • Caven

      Sort of. There’s a bit more to it than that, since it can also detect rotation. It needs to know which way your body is rotating to apply the “analog stick” input properly. So it’s basically emulating an analog stick plus mouse yaw.

  • Francesco Fazio

    I dont really get what is the plus in using a device like that. I mean you move using the sticks on the controllers what is the difference between the sticks and using your butt ?