VR Hiker

Royal College of Art
Design Products

︎ Nominated to Helen Hamlyn Student Design Awards 2019

This is a walking stick used in virtual reality to help people overcome motion sickness. It also includes a pair of footpads attach to the bottom of the feet to enable people to control their movement in virtual reality with their feet.

This stick uses techniques to simulate the condition when we are walking with a stick. When we walk with a stick in the hand, we get the sound every time the stick touches the floor, the haptic, pressure and vibration in our hand, and also the hand motion. The stick uses these clues to help our brain understand our body movement, then matches with our eye view, in order to reduce the confusion in our brain and alleviate motion sickness.

It works with two wheels. The bottom wheel rotates and brings the bottom end of the stick moving backwards. This can produce the feedback that tells the brain the movement in the front and rear direction. The other wheel which is on the top part of the stick can change the position of the hand on the stick. This gives the feedback of the movement on the up and down axis. If the person goes uphill in the virtual reality, the hand will be lifted up. If the person goes downhill in the virtual reality, the hand will also go down.

Work in process:

Footpad can attach to each of the foot. When people press the button on the stick to run the wheels, they can march on the spot in the real world to move in virtual reality. The muscle will not feel the same as we really walk forward, but because people are stepping, the vibration and tiny movement on the head can still stimulate our vestibular to give some signals to the brain. In this case, with the feedback produces from the stick at the same time, the difference of the muscle feeling is not so obvious in the process of moving.