PocketStrafe phone app lets you run around in VR


— 3:23 PM on December 21, 2016

If you haven't used VR, you could be forgiven for wondering why people invest so much time and money in technologies like 360-degree treadmills and spinny chairs. The thing is, physically moving around while in VR is a tricky prospect. Do it wrong, and it's disorienting; do it wrong enough and it's potentially nauseating. Software developer Cool Font thinks it has an answer for this conundrum in its PocketStrafe software. Load the app on your phone and your PC, stick your phone in your pocket, and start moving around. The app uses the phone's motion sensors to transmit positioning information to the PC.

The problem of effective and immersive translation of physical-to-VR locomotion is difficult. Some folks are immune to VR sickness when moving their bodies, but even those blessed few can suffer from disorientation and confusion with an awkward control scheme. Developers have figured out that it's important to separate moving from looking, and that's why technologies like the Turris chair work. PocketStrafe is a little different, though, because it requires the user to run in place. The physical motion requirement could alleviate VR discomfort for a portion of users.

The app can emulate keyboard or gamepad input, and so it should work with basically any VR game. It's available now for iOS and Android for $0.99. A tip of the hat to UploadVR for the news.

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