Introducing the “world’s first metaverse gate.”
StepVR, a VR technology service company based out of China, is launching a commercial omnidirectional motion system complete with its own VR headset and haptic vest. Gates01, as it’s referred to by the company, features a unique open-air design inspired by Steven Speilberg’s 2018 film, Ready Player One. The result is a futuristic-looking immersive cage aimed at education, entertainment, sports, and work.
The device covers an area of roughly 3 square meters and features an omnidirectional treadmill, allowing you to physically walk or run freely in any direction while remaining in a fixed position. Gates01 also features its own dedicated VR headset, a haptic vest, robotic force feedback, and motion capture gloves, allowing you to experience a sense of touch while in VR.
StepVR claims that its device can “restore the sense of vision, hearing, touch, smell, and vestibular balance in the virtual world,” though it’s still unclear at this time how exactly the device will provide smell haptics. In a video released by the company, you can spot a Vive Tracker mounted to the back of the user. This is most likely used to track the position of the user while on the treadmill.
As for the VR headset, StepVR used a design referred to as pancake optics to reduce the overall size and weight of the device while maintaining a solid 4K resolution. According to StepVR founder & CEO Dr. Guo Cheng, the headset weighs approximately 150 grams (about the same as your average orange).
According to StepVR, this system not only provides a more immersive experience compared to other omnidirectional treadmills but a more comfortable and natural experience as well. In the video provided, the company states that anyone can learn to walk on the device in just a matter of minutes.
In 2019, StepVR launched Future Battle, an esports brand dedicated to expanding the competitive VR scene in China. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has opened over 140 stores over the past three years, with another 60 partner stores still scheduled to open. Gates01 will launch simultaneously throughout participating VR venues in Europe, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, North America, and Singapore this October.
Moving forward, the company plans on launching a streamlined version of Gates01 in 2023 that’s designed specifically for individuals and families. According to the company, this consumer-friendly model will be 50% smaller than the original as well as significantly lighter, allowing it to fit into tighter spaces such as the home, gym, or office.
“Entertainment and education are cornerstone sectors for the metaverse,” said Guo during an interview with the South China Morning Post. “Our goal is to make the next generation of gear for home-computing platforms [that come] after the smartphone,” adding, “Not by jabbing the screen of a pad or smartphone, but by entering a metaverse through an avatar, you can run, touch things, even smell things.”
For more information on StepVR and Gates01 visit the official website.
Image Credit: StepVR