One of the biggest complaints users of VR headsets make is that they get motion sickness. The brain uses both the inner ear and the eyes to figure out your location, and when they don’t match up, you get dizzy, and some folks have a harder time with this than others. Roto is hoping to alleviate this problem by physically moving players in the direction they’re wanting to face in-game, helping the ears and eyes to give the brain information that matches more closely. This is accomplished using a rig that’s not much larger than a standard office chair.
The base of Roto is a little over 2 feet wide, and has a smaller platform that extends outward for the feet to rest on, controlling movement in-game. If the player wants to walk forward, they can actually “walk” on the pedals to move. Running and stopping work the same way, creating a viewing experience that matches physical intent by the body. The head-tilting, peering around corners, and turning of the head will work the same (in fact, Roto should be compatible with any VR headset – Roto is the chair system, itself), but when players want to turn down a corridor, for example, the chair will actually move to match the turn, so the player’s orientation will match, making the transition easier. For example, when running from something, a hallway to the left appears – players turn their head to go down the hallway, and the chair swivels to give them the physical sensation of turning, much like steering a car. The brain feels the turn that the body makes through the inner ear, matches it to the fact that the eyes just saw them turn the same direction, alleviating whatever motion sickness might have been experienced.
In addition, there is an optional table attachment for holding a keyboard and mouse, a tablet, or a gamepad, so a myriad of games can be played as long as they have VR support. Users will also be able to watch immersive movies, similar to the 360-degree films shown in special theaters like those at Disney World. Since the chair moves with the player, the cords that might have gotten tangled from them using VR equipment in their own office stay in place. The chairs are interchangeable, so if a person has already found a swivel chair they like, they simply attach it to the Roto base, and they’re good to go. While the Roto is still in concept planning, a prototype is planned for testing by Rezzed 2015, and a Kickstarter campaign will be launched on March 12th of this year in order to help production.
Does Roto sit comfortably with you? Let us know in the comments!