"I believe I can fly." Especially when I'm lying stomach down on a steel and leather harness, my arms stretched out over two metal contraptions and my hands grasping a pair of sturdy handles while wearing an HTC Vive headset.
France-based company Theory has created an exoskeleton of sorts that when paired with a VR headset can make even the most grounded person feel like they can fly like their favorite superhero.
Why You Should Care
Even though the Hypersuit is clearly a prototype at this point, the possibilities are intriguing. I mean who would want to experience flying high like Superman? The exoskeleton's rather large frame prevents it from being from being a feasible home device, but this the exact thing you'd want to see at a virtual reality arcade.
- If soaring through the heavens isn't your thing, Theory offers several other simulations including Cosmonaut, Flying Suit or Base Jump.
- To navigate the world, you use your head to adjust the camera and move your arms to control your direction.
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Climbing aboard the Hypersuit exoskeleton is a little like getting on a motorcycle. After donning the Vive and straddling the seat, I laid down on my stomach and placed my arms along the portion of the device reserved for my arms. A large fan was pointed at my face to create the illusion of flying into a headwind. When the simulation began, I found myself soaring through a pastel-colored valley lined with trees with big blue rings I was supposed to fly through.
Ultimately, I found the task easier said than done. Despite pushing down on the controls while bringing my arms together in order to force myself into a downward flight pattern, I often found myself floating away -- or veering off to the left and crashing into a nearby cliff. After several tries, however, I started getting the hang of it flexing my right arm to go right and vice versa.
In my best run, I managed to maneuver through several rings which took me from a pastel pasture to an icy blue castle.
Although it's not ready for primetime yet, the Hypersuit is just the sort of thing I'd want to try out in a VR arcade. If Theory can make the controls easier to use, I can see a bunch of people lined waiting to take their turn in the wild, blue yonder.