|Feet Tracking, Locomotion
The main idea behind the Virtualizer is to rid players of all distractions that would prevent them from a complete immersion. Its developers went to great lengths to ensure that users would feel like they truly are a part of the virtual world. While VR HMDs, such as the Oculus Rift, are able to provide the visual aspect of virtual reality, we still largely rely on outdated input devices that were designed for past generations of consoles and computers.
The Virtualizer uses a flat base-plate with a special low friction surface that closely mimics a regular treadmill. This surface is designed to be used with ordinary socks and works in conjunction with the movable ring construction, which places users inside a harness that allows for natural movement. Jumping, kneeling, sitting or running, are all faithfully translated by the system of three pillars into the virtual reality. The accuracy is less than 1 cm, and this system makes it possible to move from the binary standing/crouching state toward a more natural reflection of user’s actual position in space. Finally, the Virtualizer supports sitting position, which not only helps players immerse themselves when they sit behind a virtual steering wheel, but it also provides a comfortable support and a way how to temporarily relax.
The Virtualizer HT is a haptic technology built into the omnidirectional treadmill. It uses audio and special transducers, creating precise, directed haptic output to deliver an unmatched VR experience. Even if the game doesn’t natively support haptic feedback, the software is still able to translate game’s audio output into realistic vibrations.
The Virtualizer SDK
All games that support regular mouse and keyboard can be played with the Cyberith Virtualizer. However, to unleash the full potential of this system, developers can take advantage of the provided SDK in order to fully integrate all functionality in their games. This includes features like analog crouching and jumping, independent viewing and walking, and adaptable walking speed.
The project launched in July 2014 on Kickstarter and successfully raised $361,453 USD (the original goal was to raise $250,000 USD) with 577 backers at the end of August.