Despite recent improvements in Virtual Reality technology it is at present still impossible to physically walk through virtual environments. Our goal is to significantly advance the scientific and technological state-of-the-art by enabling quasi-natural, unconstrained, and omni-directional walking in VR. To achieve this visionary goal we follow a holistic approach that unites science, technology and applications. CyberWalk will develop a novel concept for a high-fidelity omni-directional treadmill, named CyberCarpet. This treadmill is envisioned to be a 2D platform consisting of many small balls that should allow unrestricted walking, permitting users to execute quick or slow movements in any direction. At the end of CyberWalk it is foreseen that we will have an easy-to-use device that has been constructed to fit individual needs, independent of gender or age. Its widespread use will be facilitated by the fact that users can get quickly prepared using it because it consists of a planar basis and a marker-less visual tracking that supports the control. The concept of motion control behind this treadmill will focus on diminishing the forces exerted on the walking user, by minimizing the overall accelerations. To place the developments on a solid human-centred footing CyberWalk will push research in the field of cognitive/behavioural science and will determine the necessary psychophysical design guidelines and appropriate evaluation procedures. The CyberWalk project will showcase its developments via a physical walk-through (virtual reconstruction of the ancient city Sagalassos). However, it seems clear that the CyberWalk approach will also prove relevant to many other application areas such as medical treatment/rehabilitation (Parkinson¿s disease, phobia), entertainment, sports (training facilities, fitness centres), behavioural science, education (museums), training (maintenance teams, security guards), and architecture (exploring virtual construction sites).
Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project