VR Locomotion System ‘KAT Loco’ Surpasses Kickstarter Target in 21 Hours
Lots of companies are coming with novel solutions to tackle the problem of movement in VR. Currently, most players are relying on smooth locomotion, teleportation or roomscale VR but all of these have their limitations. .
For the most immersive virtual reality locomotion experiences that render super-realistic physicality in the virtual reality interactions, there are some hardware solutions that you can utilize such as Cybershoes and 3dRudder.
The latest player in this niche is KAT VR which has come up with a complete wearable locomotion system. KAT VR aims to create an affordable and universally compatible virtual reality locomotion system that will activate the lower body of the user and allow them to experience the full physicality of VR.
The virtual reality startup recently launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign with a fundraising goal of $50,000. The campaign surpassed the goal within the first 21 hours and has hit $82, 602 in pledges from 529 backers with 35 days to go. Investors can support various tiers of the system which begin from $99 for the Early Bird Price. The company had capped sales at 500 units so it is already oversubscribed.
KAT VR is currently developing a system called KAT Loco which is foot-based virtual reality locomotion system capable of providing the wearer with complete physical control over the actions of their lower bodies. Users wearing the system will be able to run, walk and perform any other movement in virtual reality.
Virtual reality is developing in leaps and bounds and one of the factors which holds the most promise for the realization of a truly immersive gameplay is a realistic VR locomotion system. There are lots of locomotion systems that are already in play but these can be limiting. They do not offer the best solutions that will allow for the smooth integration of high immersion.
KAT VR is already known for its omnidirectional treadmill. However, the company has embarked on a new VR locomotion venture for which it has been fundraising on Kickstarter and which is aimed at creating a new VR locomotion system which is some way similar to the Vive Trackers. The new system will be known as KAT Loco.
KAT Loco would be a more elegant improvement over its erstwhile omnidirectional treadmills. It will be foot-based locomotion system designed to give users greater physical control over their lower-body actions. The system will consist of three pucks. Two of these will attach around the ankles of the user while a third one will attach around the waist. These three straps will thus enable users to perform physical actions such as walking and running which will be translated into corresponding virtual reality movement.
Virtual reality is developing in multiple facets and a lot of peripheral hardware and systems are coming up that help users have a more immersive experience including scents, spatial audio and facial recognition among others. However, one of the biggest barriers to immersive and comfortable gameplay in virtual reality still remains movement. The challenge is to create a VR system that allows players to move in a very natural way without having to rely on cumbersome technology or roomscale VR.
In the KAT Loco system, players will be able to move forward by just jogging. But locomotion in virtual reality requires more than just this. Players need to have the capability to also move backwards or to strafe (move sideways in relation to an enemy in the game). A strafing capability is particularly useful in first-person shooter (FPS) games. The KAT VR will even incorporate a Cruise Control system which will allow players to move in a single direction at a certain speed without necessarily having to move their legs. This will come in handy in the experiences that involve navigating the large open worlds.
Is Loco Motion Needed?
Given that the traditional VR locomotion systems are still limited and are yet to provide us with an optimal solution, innovation in this area of application is highly welcome. The traditional VR locomotion systems currently include the following:-
- Room scale (limited space)
- Teleportation (a low immersion option)
- Free locomotion (rife with motion sickness)
Bringing the Physicality into VR Interactions
From the physical into the virtual and now we are into making the virtual world more physical. The full physicality of virtual reality experience will be the ultimate in immersion, blurring the real world from the virtual. VR Locomotion aims to bring the physicality into your lower body part so that you don’t have to rely on your hands to control body directions in virtual reality.
It will also enable users to walk or run with their feet. The realization of the KAT Loco system will be the final step towards the realization of a complete virtual reality system where each of the body parts will have a role to play with the head for controlling vision, hand gestures for controlling the manual interactions and the feet for controlling locomotion just like in the real world. The end game with this is the increase in the level of immersion. From an experience perspective, it will help reduce the feeling of space limitation and motion sickness.
A New Way to Immerse Yourself into the Virtual Worlds
The new VR locomotion system by KAT VR immerses users into a very unique and comprehensive locomotion system that guarantees users advanced software, an enhanced functionality and hardware that is user-friendly. The KAT Loco system provides VR users with an all-in-one locomotion solution that can be put into varied uses by both active and passive VR users.
The KAT Loco VR locomotion system is compatible with a variety of virtual reality headsets such as the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest and the HTC Vive virtual reality headset. It will also be compatible with any other virtual reality headset that will be SteamVR-compatible. The VR locomotion kit is currently designed with three sensors but the creators plan to incorporate up to 16 modules to provide end users with more complex body tracking.
The deliveries for the kits will begun in August 2019.