Matt Carrell has been working on Stompz for the last five years and tells the story of how it came about. Back in 2009, he was a runner in military training where he couldn’t leave the fence line. He started to use the Trimersion Virtual Reality HMD, and hacked together a system to be able to run in place in real life and have that provide input so that he could run around in Call of Duty.

Matt CarrellThis system has evolved into Stompz, which uses accelerometers attached to your feed to detect when you’re walking in place and then provides that as an input control to VR. Matt explains some of the other motions that are possible with Stompz, and how that could be mapped to other input controls — as well as how it could move beyond the feet to your arms or other objects.

One of the key insights that Matt has is that walking in place provides just enough haptic feedback for your brain to believe that it’s actually running or walking — even if you’re sitting down. He questions how popular or effective systems like the Virtuix Omni or the Cyberith Virtualizer will be when you have to have a harness attached to your crotch, and he’s got some alternative omnidirectional treadmill ideas based upon a modified swivel chair.

Finally, he talks about his PodVR podcast that he started with Brian Bullard, and how Ready Player One has provided an inspiration for how VR will spread into society.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro – Matt Carrell has been working on Stompz for 5 years. First iteration of Stompz in 2009. Loves VR community and VR chats. Co-founder of Sacramento VR. Finding any way to get involved in VR. Building train stations everywhere without trains yet. No consumer version, and enthusiasts may seem crazy. Waiting for the wave to come
  • 2:31 – How Stompz works. Accelerometer on your feet to detect your foot motion, which then activates the forward key. Primary use is walking in place. Has a lot of interesting sensors in it. Developers would like to use these into their games. Alternative to Omni. Let you hack into the sensors so that you use it for whatever you want. Low-cost way for you to get access to data.
  • 4:09 – Arm integration and other places on the body as well. Control a flight simulator with it.
  • 4:50 – First starting Stompz in 2009. He was a runner and was in military training and couldn’t go anywhere, and wanted to be able to run around. Put a Trimersion VR display on his head so that he could run in place in Call of Duty and be somewhere else.
  • 6:06 – Stereographic HMD with Trimersion with a gun that was connected to your headset
  • 6:33 – Where did you get a Trimersion? From eBay. It failed.
  • 6:55 – Wanted to get an existing VR HMD. Could pay $36k for a VR HMD, and it had a lot of wires and was really heavy. Couldn’t find a good VR HMD on the market in 2009.
  • 7:35 – First heard of Oculus late. Missed opportunity to make an omni-directional treadmill. Wants to see omni-directional solution done right.
  • 8:50 – Build a prototype of your omnidirectional treadmill. Sat in a modified swivel chair. All your weight is seated in your chair. Balance is a big issue on low-friction services. Against crotch straps.
  • 10:02 – Running in VR. Where do you go? Anywhere. Don’t like seated VR experiences. Wants VR to be 360 experience. Feel like the real power of VR is fully immersed in 360-degrees. Gamers have to get used to turning with their head. Moving head in VR is impressive. Need a 360-version and to be able to go anywhere. Running through Unity Bootcamp. Would love to geotag runs where you could run down Pebble beach or Hawaii Beach. Mountains are difficult because going uphill breaks immersion.
  • 12:14 – Does it feel like you’re actually running? People are really big on haptics, and Stompz provides haptic feedback. People are pumping their arms like they’re going somewhere. Don’t need the full intense, forward-leaning feedback
  • 13:40 – Motion sickness and simulator sickness from walking in place. People do get motion sickness. Thinks that people get it less since they’re getting a lot of physical feedback of running. Brain feedback where something that’s off. Worse simulator sickness when people stop and turn rather than moving and turning.
  • 14:44 – Using Stompz to step in a specific direction to determine where you’re going. Can tilt forward or backwards with the foot to move back. Found that a backwards tilt could provide a crouch motion. Other configurations to do other actions like crawling
  • 15:58 – PodVR podcast to talk about cool things happening in the Silicon Valley. Have timely information to share with people. Want to get this information out.
  • 16:48 – Potential of VR. Ready Player One novel. Good vision of the future for that. It’ll be in every household. People will have other roles in VR. Economy in VR. Will spread to every field. It’s going to blow up big.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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