#49: Scott Phillips on his VR Walker shoe-based locomotion idea, Dactyl Nightmare inspiration, & connecting your unconscious mind to VR for presence, creative expression & esoteric self-exploration of the human condition.

Scott Phillips was making 3D scans of people at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference and part of his toll was to listen to his pitch about his shoe-based, locomotion idea called the the VR Walker.

scott-phillipsI decided to record the pitch in this interview, and it turned out to be one of the most interesting surprises of the conference that ranged from VR locomotion, early inspirations from one of the first famous VR experiences, and ended up at occult applications of the VR walker for psychological explorations into the human condition.

The VR Walker was still in an early iteration phase that doesn’t quite have a working prototype just yet. But Scott shared his vision of what could be a shoe-based design that would allow locomotion within VR without actually moving in real life. Eventually, he sees that this idea could evolve to the point where it could be integrated into wearable shoes, but it’s an ambitious project that is definitely thinking outside of the box when it comes to VR locomotion.

vrwalkerScott shared his early inspirations from the famous Dactyl Nightmare VR experience but also his insights into tapping into the creative potential of your unconscious mind through the work of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and through esoteric traditions like the Tarot and Kabbalah.

This is when I decided to dive into the occult Rabbit Hole since I’ve published nearly 150 interviews through my Esoteric Voices podcast, and am working on a VR experience that will eventually be able to create customized archetypal experiences based upon someone’s astrological theory of their personality, but also how that changes and evolves over time.

Scott’s big insight for me is that there is something mysterious and magical about the power of our unconscious mind, and the process of shuffling a Tarot deck is a way to connect your unconscious mind to the symbols. His theory is that the process of walking is an unconscious act, and that through walking within VR that we may be able to tap into our unconscious creative potential or eventually be able to take unconscious body language cues or use occult traditions to be able to do inner self-exploration to learn more about ourselves and our human condition.

It’s a radical and interesting idea, and something that made me give another look at the power of physical locomotion within VR and how that could give us more of a sense of presence, but also have other esoteric and occult applications that we don’t yet understand or really even fully know how to tap into.

Reddit discussion here.


  • 0:00 – Shoe-based VR locomotion device. Move in VR, but not in real life. Sensor at the center of gravity. Looks at orientation of shoe modules, and change the direction of the VR walker wheels. Intended to be able to ship with a game console
  • 2:12 – How it’s powered and operated with motors. Doesn’t require a lot energy, but the prototype is powered
  • 2:52 – Do you have a working prototype? Not yet, and working towards that.
  • 3:16 – Putting wheels on the feet and simplicity of the design. Part of the wearable computing trend, eventually be like normal shoes.
  • 4:00 – External cameras that are needed. Need to sense center of gravity relative to ground plane and the orientation of the shoe modules.
  • 4:47 – Dactyl Nightmare was the inspiration for this. First experiences in 1994, and was blown away. But he was upset that he couldn’t walk around.
  • 6:43 – Been tracking VR since Dactyl Nightmare and had a number of iteration of VR walker ideas since then.
  • 8:05 – Could be a part of a remote android control system
  • 8:48 – First heard about Oculus Rift was Eureka, and that it’s finally been done.
  • 9:32 – Fan of surrealist Salvador Dalí and rendering your unconscious in artist medium. Wants to become the Salvador Dalí of VR in that he wants to be a part of a community of people who are building tools to empower people’s creativity and communicate their inner essence
  • 10:40 – Jung and Freud on the unconscious and subconscious playing out in VR. VR the occult and Kaballah, and the Tarot and a symbolic map of the human condition, and VR has an interesting role to play for humans understanding themselves on an esoteric level.
  • 11:52 – Esoteric applications of VR as a tool for self-exploration and providing customized archetypal experiences to people based upon esoteric traditions like archetypal astrology.
  • 13:05 – The act of shuffling Tarot cards connects your unconscious to the deck, and you have the potential with VR to achieve something similar because your unconscious mind controls acts like walking. VR Walker is a tool to integrate your unconscious mind into VR.
  • 14:14 – Walking motion is an unconscious act. Shuffling a card deck connects our unconscious mind to a deck, and things like the VR Walker would connect your unconscious to a VR experience from an occult perspective. Thinks that one of the most interesting applications of VR would be to have an experience that teaches you about yourself.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio