Ok, I have to admit this is pretty cool…
I’m not a big fan of Disney, but I am a big fan of cool tech.
And this brings us one step closer to a future Holodeck from Star Trek.
One step closer to the holodeck!
AR/VR walking is now possible! pic.twitter.com/s2hFyOaeS0
— Dogan Ural (@doganuraldesign) January 21, 2024
It’s called the HoloTile, and it allows multiple people on the same floor to all walk in any direction they want — infinitely.
The obvious use case is VR/AR headsets, where one of the last remaining holdbacks is not being able to walk naturally.
Imagine pairing this floor with an Apple Vision Pro.
Or in a couple years pairing this floor with an Apple Vision Pro 3.
Going to be incredible!
And yes, don’t get it twisted….I think this is really cool but I also greatly enjoy just getting outside and doing some grounding with bare feet on green grass.
It doesn’t have to be an either or.
I’m not suggesting we should all live our lives in these things….I’m just saying this is pretty cool.
Disney just announced the Holotile Floor
Walk infinitely in any direction while in AR/VR pic.twitter.com/a8ptkDr7ca
— DailyNoah.com (@DailyNoahNews) January 22, 2024
Disney has recently developed a super treadmill for virtual reality, called the “holo tile floor.”
This product enables multiple users and movement in different directions. It’s exciting to think that it could be set up and used in homes within the next few years. pic.twitter.com/GnzdSVu6yw
— WhaleWire (@WhaleWire) January 22, 2024
Here’s more from TechCrunch:
Remember the Virtuix Omni? I’ll never forget trying out an early version of the virtual reality treadmill in a hotel suite many E3s ago. The system, which features a concave platform and slippery shoes, was clever enough to influence Ready Player One’s take on the space. The electronics-free system finally started shipping earlier this year.
One thing you can say about VR is that it’s inspiring a lot of creative solutions to different issues around the tech. Movement is a major one, of course. You lose some of that visceral sensation when your FPV avatar is cruising around while you’re just sat there on the couch.
For the foreseeable future, however, all solutions will have some key drawbacks. Price is one in Omni’s case, and likely will be for a lion’s share of these sorts of peripherals. Other issues are size (it’s huge) and sound (it’s very noisy).
HoloTile — which recently made its YouTube debut at the end of a video honoring Disney Research fellow, Lanny Smoot – is an extremely clever and honestly quite elegant solution to some of these issues.
The system is comprised of hundreds of small, round “tiles” that look to be about the size of a silver dollar. Each serve as a kind of mini, omnidirectional treadmill. Working together, their only task is to stop the walker from leaving the pad.
“I can walk on this omni directional floor in any direction I want,” Smoot says in the video. “It will automatically do whatever it needs to have me stay on the floor. And what’s amazing about this is multiple people can be on it and all walking independently. They can walk in virtual reality, and so many other things.”
Gizmodo has more on the “Imagineer” who created the HoloTile:
The legacy of invention and technology that comes out of Disney Imagineering is some of the closest we’ll get to a sci-fi future. And two of Disney Parks’ most recent incredible projects come from Lanny Smoot, a Disney legend who has already patented over 100 inventions, 74 of which are at Disney Imagineering—including Madame Leota’s floating head.
You’ll be familiar with his work on that incredible lightsaber he made as real as possible with retractable “laser” action. And now he’s made a very real HoloDeck-inspired invention, a game-changer for the world of VR. “We call it the HoloTile floor,” Smoot shared in a video released by Disney Parks to celebrate his induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame; he’s only the second Disney inventor to become a member. The first was Walt Disney himself, for his work on the multi-plane camera.
Smoot’s legacy includes a number of Imagineering feats; as mentioned above, he’s the brains behind that Star Wars lightsaber wielded by Rey in promotional videos shot around Galaxy’s Edge to introduce the tech seen up close on Star Wars’ now-shuttered Galactic Starcruiser. In the video interview he does say it’s made for the parks, so hopefully we’ll see it pop up at special events or as part of future shows in Batuu. But the star of the video is certainly the HoloTile floor itself.
Beam Me Up!