Cybershoes, the makers of a locomotion peripheral for VR headsets, launched a Kickstarter late last week for a new Quest-compatible version of the device. Within only 12 hours of the campaign’s launch, Cybershoes for Quest reached its threshold funding goal of $30,000.
Unlike conventional VR treadmills, which require you to stand on a parabolic base and slide your feet with special, low-friction shoes, Cybershoes offers a seated experience that requires the user to slide a pair of shoe-mounted devices forward and backward to simulate walking or running in-game. To accomplish this, the devices include integrated barrel-shaped wheels in each shoe and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to register foot orientation.
It sounds weird, and it is, but it’s both more compact and cheaper than a VR treadmill, and it’s easier to operate too.
Following its 2018 Kickstarter campaign for its first PC VR-compatible device, the Vienna-based startup is again raising funds for its next iteration of Cybershoes, this time focusing on a Quest compatibility module that is designed to also work with the company’s standard Cybershoe model.
The head-mounted Quest module includes an additional IMU, which when fused with the shoes’ data, can be processed to obtain X and Y motion. For power, the device plugs in directly to either Quest or Quest 2 via the USB-C port.
The question with these third-party peripherals always ends up being game support, or the lack thereof. Developers will need to integrate support for Cybershoes into their games using the team’s SDK, something Vertigo Games has already done this for its popular zombie shooter Arizona Sunshine.
Provided the campaign reaches the $60,000 mark, Cybershoes will also offer a workaround compatibility layer for other games via SideQuest, the unofficial store for Quest games and experiences.
“With a few games, like [The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners], we’ve already established compatibility by adopting the Cybershoes to the game. The Cybershoes app will bind the Cybershoes movement onto the Quest’s touch controllers. This process is very similar to how compatibility is achieved on the PC version of the Cybershoes. In the last year, we’ve integrated over 50 games by finding out the best settings,” the team says.
The company is selling both the Cybershoes + Quest module through its Kickstarter, starting at the early bird price of $280. Alternatively, users who already own a pair of Cybershoes can buy a Quest module on its own for $50, which is estimated to retail for $80 after the campaign is concluded.
At the time of this writing, the campaign has already raised nearly $50,000, with 36 days remaining until the campaign’s close.
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