Skate Skate Revolution in the virtual world

Skate Skate Revolution in the virtual world


Get your virtual skates on.

Actually, it’s “Powered Shoes,” a device developed by a trio of researchers from Japan that will be shown off at an interactive tech conference next weekend in Boston. You step into the skates, strap a computer on your back, and enter the world of virtual reality. Each of the shoes is affixed to a set of three motorized rollers that are connected to a computer on your back. You’ll also have a viewscreen mounted to your head, so you can see the virtual landscape.

The weird part comes in when you walk forward. That computer on your back controls the rollers under your feet, canceling out your strides. The net effect is no forward movement in the real world. In the virtual world, however, you’re moving forward. This is a significant upgrade over existing VR devices, which are far and wide stationary devices: You stand there and stare into a head-mounted device while your virtual self runs rampant on the screen. Using the “Powered Shoes,” you’ll actually feel like you’re moving.

So wait, you walk but you don’t walk, you don’t walk but you walk … Oh, never mind.