Shifty tiles bring walking to VR.


hey guys, I didn’t see this anywhere in the news section, and I searched and this seems to be new to the forum… man, I would LOVE to test this out. though I bet it’s a little disorienting.

Researchers from the University of Tsukuba and ATR Media Information Research Labs in Japan have constructed a moving floor that allows the user to stay in place while walking in a virtual environment.

The device makes it possible to literally move through a virtual environment, and could be used to simulate operations like disaster evacuations, according to the researchers.

The device, dubbed CirculaFloor, consists of movable sections of floor equipped with ultra-sound sensors that keep track of the floor section positions, and magnetic sensors that keep track of the motion of a user’s feet. The floor moves in the opposite direction from the user so that the motion of each step is canceled and the user’s position remains fixed in the real world.

The floor sections move in all directions, making it possible for the user to freely change direction while walking.

The floor provides a relatively natural means of locomotion for virtual reality systems because the sense of distance and orientation while walking is much better than while riding in a vehicle, according to the researchers.

The researchers’ prototype covers flat surfaces. They are working on a mechanism that will allow the user to traverse uneven terrain.

Practical applications could be possible within five years, according to the researchers. The work is scheduled to be presented at the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Siggraph 2004 conference in Los Angeles, August 8 to 12.



I saw this at the Emerging Technologies exhibit at SIGGRAPH. My friend took a video of it, I will see if he will post it.

It was very cool technology. Not quite fast enough to be viable yet, but it was really cool to see how it worked.


oh man, yeah, I wanna see the video. sadly, the news article has absolutely no links to one! let us know when it’s up!


this remembes me to the adidas spot with the robot legs
its from digital domain i think on luxology is a good article you can read it

cant find a link to the spot but this shiftin tiles stuff sounds like the things used in the funny adidas spot =)


Cool, I thought they were going to this except with a really big ball. A person would walk on top of it and the ball would spin. Kinda like the earth actually. :slight_smile:


its a good first step, will be interesting where this technology will allow people to go and do…

will be interesting :smiley:



cool, a whole new prison system, criminals will be able to walk forever and never escape, like some twisted greek tale.

of course there’s excercise, forget treadmills!

then there’s the small mat version for pacers, poeple who need to pace around to think…

…with this new technology, we could fit more people into a smaller space, witness the boom of the hong kong microhotel, and the birth of the microhome! only 10x5 :smiley:


Roberto Ortiz beat him to it. There’s a link to a video in this thread, the link is titled “”


Wow, that is quite cool. I guess right now you can only walk slowly, right? I wonder how they’ll make it account for sudden changes of direction, like if you’re running one way and leap sideways all of a sudden.

This would be so cool for working out. Can you imagine running around playing video games for your workout? :slight_smile:


Seems to me it would be a lot better to build a track ball type thing large enough to run on …the computer could control it somewhat so you don’t slip and fall by adding resistence when needed but if you built something with just a bit of drag that was large enough it would work a lot better then those things ??


I wonder if you could make a giant trackball that is a bit squishy so that the machine flattens the part that’s at the top, even though the whole thing is rolling.


Hehe, I bet most people here have dreamt up a device just like this.
I remember first trying VR googles sometime around 1992 I think, was hooked up to an Amiga at the time, some pretty basic stuff but it was so cool.
I’d been dreaming about the ultimate arcade machine since at school which had a platform much like a treadmill but moved all directions (circle) and the surface would change depending on what you saw in your goggles. All pie in the sky pipedream stuff, havn’t given it much thought since and hello, 10+ years later it’s finally arriving.

Also I never really understood why computers today have games like Half Life 2 but VR google and glove technology never advanced with it.

I mean how cool would HalfLife 2 be with VR googles and a glove/pistol with one of these contraptions under your feet… bring it on I say.


yeah, I must say, I’m kinda disappointed by the video. the news article made it seem a lot further down the road of development. but I guess you gotta start somewhere…


Saw it at Siggraph (when it wasn’t broken. :slight_smile: ). Cool but slow. They basically said it would be 5 years until it would be at the level they would like. Very cool though.


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