Google Working On VR Shoes That Let You Walk Forever In Your Living Room

Google’s new invention has showed up in a patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office: shoes that allow you to walk forever in a limited space, the next step in immersive virtual reality experience (no pun intended).

Credit: USPTO

(Image credit: USPTO)

Right now, the main problem with VR’s believability is that you are stuck in one position. You can’t freely walk through a virtual room or open space unless you have a special VR rig like the Virtuix Omni walking platform:

This is too voluminous to have in a house, which is why the best VR experiences now are those that make the player stay still in one place. Flight or race simulators are a natural for VR, but any open arena game — like GTA or RDR2 — will be impossible to do right now in VR. The only way to “walk” in VR is jumping from hotspot to hotspot, which doesn’t require any real walking at all.

MORE: 6 Cheap VR Headsets (Under $45) Ranked from Best to Worst

This is what Google wants to fix with these special shoes.

Credit: USPTO

(Image credit: USPTO)

The patent — titled “Augmented and/or Virtual Reality Footwear” — describes a motorized shoe that can detect when you are running out of space to walk, activating a mechanism that will allow you to take a step in the virtual world without actually advancing in the real world (and smacking your face against a bookshelf).

The shoes, the patent abstract describes, “allow the user to walk, seemingly endlessly in the virtual environment, while remaining within a defined physical space in the physical environment.” In other words, you will think you are walking for real but, from the outside, you will look like Michael Jackson moonwalking.

Add the gloves that give you tactile feedback and a virtual reality horse, and we will be ready for that rumored VR version of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.