The promise of virtual reality is, at the same time, plagued with a number of real problems which can hinder the entire experience. The biggest problem yet to be solved involves how users can experience unlimited movement within very real, limited spaces. Because omni-directional treadmills and other wonky solutions aren’t ripe for the mainstream, reducing movement to controllers remains a necessary sacrifice.
Stompz is a product which allows VR enthusiasts to use their own two legs and avoid bumping into walls in the process. The product comes in the form of two sensors, each containing a nine-axis motion tracker, that attach to sneakers. Walking in place will map the same experience over to the virtual world, while walking slightly faster will translate into a run, providing a low intensity workout at the same time. The inputs themselves are fully customizable, so users have control over how to walk backwards, jump, sprint, etc. Stompz isn’t limited to the feet, though, as the motion trackers are versatile enough to be used with fitness equipment or as alternative controllers alá the Wii Nunchuks. Interested backers looking for a new way to use their headsets can shell out $125 for the Stompz kit, expected in December 2015. The campaign is looking for $100,000 in funding by April 10.
This product targets an extremely niche market of gamers looking to experiment with alternative forms of input when it comes to VR, something that is both very necessary but still a ways away from being successful. Products like Stompz and 3DRudder are the closest approximations to mainstream solutions currently available — and neither does a great job. Until a truly all-in-one solution comes along, these products will serve as testing beds until a product comes along and does it just right.