How do the Freeaim VR Shoes work?

The VR shoes use high torque motors with treadmills to counteract the user's actual movement. The VR shoes internally sense their speed and track position. The two bases under the VR shoes with the treadmills can turn to change the direction of the movement, and support sidestepping.

Each VR Shoe communicates using Bluetooth network and uses OpenVR to integrate with a VR game or experience. This makes it compatible with many existing PC VR games and simulations without any extra work involved from the developers.

These look like roller skates, do they feel slippery?

People who have not tried the shoes may be concerned they feel slippery or like roller skates. Walking on the shoes does not feel unstable, but feels similar to walking on a normal treadmill. Instead of the treadmill being on the floor, the treadmill is under your feet. There are rubber treadmills underneath that create good traction and stability.

You cannot push through the motors, so while turned off, they feel like normal shoes.

How do they feel compared to Kat Walk C, Virtuix Omni or similar?

Walking on slidemills has been described as "an ice-skating feeling", “playing laser tag on ice wearing bowling shoes”,  and “confined in a dish and pushing awkwardly against it". 

This is due to your feet being able to slide in any direction, which would never occur during normal walking. Thereby, you are struggling against your harness which keeps you in place. This gives an unnatural feeling.

Since the VR shoes use motors, they will drive you back to position. This removes the problems above and gives the natural feeling of walking on a treadmill instead. No sliding feeling, or pushing against a harness.

Will they work on carpet?

There will be an option to buy a mat with the shoes with which it will work on all surfaces including carpet.

What is the weight limit on these?

We currently do not know the exact weight limit yet. Testing on the maximum weight limit will be done soon. We will try to make them support weight as high as possible without adding significant costs.

Can you run on the VR shoes?

Currently, they only support a fast walk, but the movement can be scaled up in-game. So you walk in real life but run in-game. That will also help with not getting tired within a few minutes.

It would be great to support running, but it would add quite some hurdles to overcome, such as shock absorption and decoupling the motors for the constant high forces, and even more responsive software. This would add costs. We first want to bring out a version where walking works for an affordable price.

What about safety?

We have safety checks built-in throughout the software and hardware, and we will perform extensive user tests to ensure a safe, reliable product with clear guidance on correct use. 

We hope to keep costs low and make extra safety equipment optional. However, we will have an optional safety frame for all users, especially for multi-user environments such as VR arcades and workplaces.

How much will they cost?

Our main goal is to keep the cost as low as we can, so as many people can afford them as possible. Since there is a lot of technology involved in the VR shoes (internal tracking, powerful motors), we cannot sell them for a bargain. They will however definitely be cheaper than the slidemills you can buy. The final price depends on manufacturing and on if we have to include safety add-ons.

Can I buy them?

The shoes will be sold to both consumers and businesses. We will announce when the shoes are available for consumers and businesses as soon as we can. Please subscribe to our newsletter if you would like to be kept up to date.

Are they comfortable?

Even though this is an early prototype, it is already quite comfortable. The Freeaim VR Shoes are ~1kg per foot, which is similar to a heavy pair of hiking boots. They can bend with your foot and do not restrict movement. Future versions will take into account soft, comfortable material and a more ergonomic design.

How long does the battery last?

We are currently aiming to make them last for two hours. We will include an option to either swap the batteries quickly or to increase battery life with an optional extra battery pack on your hips. As always there is a balance between battery time and the weight and size of the shoes.

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