Enabling new freedom of locomotion and interaction in VR and beyond -- intuitive and affordable wearable from SOAREALM

VR is hard to do well (for any serious development efforts), especially with current hardware. The significant difference between the immersed experience vs. the flat screen experience make even teams for AAA titles (such as those for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard) "feel like working on 2 games" [1], and reported challenges like "not being able to use prior development experience as a foundation, or to rely on old control scheme conventions" . There's currently a long list of restrictions on what developer can not do in VR and many of them are there to prevent VR motion sickness, which had been studied for decades but still yet to be fully resolved. Content developers especially those with established brands/titles usually needs to make difficult decisions between a game play that is traditional (such as compatible with the flat screen game play) or a game play that does not cause motion sickness in VR, as described in the interview of RE7 development head (in [1]).

Accepted by main steam researchers as causing by disconnect or conflict between vestibular (sensor in inner ears) and visual[2], VIMS (visually induced motion sickness) in VR is a wide spread issue which could affects even the the most basic form of locomotion such as walking. So content/game play especially FPS-like interaction needs to make fundamental changes, such as from "moving by pressing buttons/joystick" to "moving by teleportation"-- which may or may not fit the story context of the content/game play-- in order to avoid causing motion sickness for users. Changes of this kind is generally regarded as "very hard to do well" [3] so developers will inevitably facing high risk and cost because their prior experiences/estates for the flat screen can not be re-used in VR.

Other choices are equally difficult such as keeping the original game play and be compatible to current input method (such as using game pad or joystick which makes development easier) , and thus violates restrictions/time-tested principles on preventing motion sickness. This will make user inevitably run into (time-tested) motion sickness issues just like the most recent example of Resident Evil 7 [4], as well as many previous examples (such as on "Adrift" VR version)

motion w/o sickness

It would be ideal, if the motion sickness issue can be resolve in a way that does not require so much fundamental changes in content that rendering prior experiences useless (which leads to high risks), and can still maintain a more traditional way of locomotion that is free from motion sickness for user.

Based on studies from simulator as well as recent best practices, the "Motion without sickness" wearable developed by SOAREALM shifts the current thinking of restricting the motion -- by for example not moving at all or using teleportation-- to a new "motion friendly" thinking that targets the root cause of the problem--vestibular disconnect-- by using real-motion integrated visual signal which prevents the conflict between the senses. This is achieved by our innovative wearable hardware (sensors close to body's center of gravity plus footwear) integrate with user's self-motion (that indicates intention of motion). By requesting user to take just one step in the real world for the moving direction he/she intended, this patent pending technology is able to provide and integrate real motion cues that is consistent with what user sees in the HMD so the disconnect between vestibular and visual can be minimized, enabling user to move far intuitively (and effectively go beyond room scale) in the virtual world (while almost remain at the same location in the real world).

Commercial version prototype as shown on GDC

At-mt At-mt

*latest consumer version also available to show upon request

With a low profile sensor-processing unit placed anywhere close to user's center of gravity (such as on a belt) as well as a pair of footwear that can easily attached to/detach from user's shores,and wireless connectivity with PC or console, the system is designed to provide reliable, flexible and extensible capabilities of measurements and integration with self-motion to achieve "Motion without sickness" in VR/AR -- while at the same time provides additional benefits of enabling more intuitive interaction and freeing user's hand from navigation /decoupling aiming and motion axis, which further enables new interesting capabilities and possibilities in game play.

Compatible with not just one but 2 most prominent motion sickness theories -- both the "Sensory conflict/Vestibular disconnect" theory and the "Postural instability" theory, this hardware is able to target the root cause of the motion sickness, and provide more than 1 way to reduce it. Based on time-tested simulator technology (which does not create as much motion sickness as often like currently in VR FPS) as well as latest industry best practices (such as that of "lone echo"), this hardware provide some key capabilities more than the traditional simulator or the current VR system can deliver, while much easier and affordable to integrate. So this offers the best combination in theory, engineering and economic viability.

Partner with some of the world's most capable manufacturers in the field, we can provide highly customized and flexible products as well as various program to help content providers on VIMS related issues in near term and long term. For example some joint trail program can be used to "insure" those players subject to VR motion sickness in normal/"pure software" versions to be able to enjoy and purchase the VR content, with the help of this affordable wearable. Enabled by our unique business model, there are also other joint programs (such as in sales) available that leads to long term profit/royalty sharing for early partners as we expect this hardware/platform would be very useful even critical to many more contents later on.

Contact us for more exciting detail about this product and related programs!


[1] Adding VR to Resident Evil 7 was 'like working on two games at once'

[2] Wikipedia : Virtual Reality Sickness

[3] "Road to VR" article about new locomotion style and related challenges

[4] Resident Evil 7 in VR is a scary but compromised experience