Feb 2023 Update

finallyfunctionalfinallyfunctional wrote 02/14/2023 at 04:08 • 4 min read • Like

Over the past 8 months I've been making prototypes of many different VR locomotion devices. I've been trying out many different concepts, but now I'm starting to focus on one setup again. 


I'll be expanding upon the leg exoskeleton concept I tried. It will be attached to either a VR shoe with wheels or a floor slider. I will attach the leg exoskeletons to my ceiling mounted support rig first, but then I want to try to make a new free standing support rig.

Leg Exoskeleton 

I'll be making the next leg exoskeleton out of EMT conduit like I did with the last prototype. The joints will be 3D printed and designed to be springy. I first wrote about the idea here, with this quick summary -

When the joints flex, they will store some energy and want to return to their original form, like a spring. 

The basic idea is that as the user brings their foot forward, there will be some resistance because the joints will flex, then as they bring their foot back, the joints will help them. The joints store some energy when they bring their foot forward, then release it when they bring their foot back.



VR Shoe or Floor Slider

I've been looking into making small omnidirectional wheels, such as the omni-sphere, to use in a VR shoe, as well as looking into if a floor slider could work.

Making small omnidirectional wheels (2in or less in diameter) that are not bumpy, can handle the load, and are not noisy has been a challenge I will write about later. I still have more ideas, including possibly using large omnidirectional wheels in a design similar to these motorized shoes.

Regarding floor sliders, I've made some progress. The issue I've ran into in the past is the friction is too high and they are noisy. Even if I could lower the friction, they are also unstable. However, the leg exoskeleton providing stability means lower friction shouldn't be a problem. With that in mind I've tried various combinations of floor types such as acrylic, wood, HDPE, UHMW, and metal, with various lubricants such as silicon spray, grease, furniture polish, personal lube, vegetable oil, soap, with several different shoes. I may go into more detail later, but I was able to make a very slippery surface that was also quiet by walking on acrylic covered with regular dish soap (no water, just soap). I am now printing different shoe sole designs out of TPU to see which work the best and will also be trying out silicon mats to see how well they slide.

A New Free Standing Rig

My last free standing rig suffered from one problem, which was it was harder to turn than when using my ceiling mounted rig. This was because when I turned there was a lot of mass I had to move, such as the ring that went around the platform and the rig extending up from the ring.

I am going to try to reduce the weight of the support rig to make it easier to turn. I have a few ideas on how to do this I can write about later.