This project's funding goal was not reached on July 28, 2013.
About this project
Following a decade of development we are pleased to present the simplest and most practical way to experience full body VR immersion.
You can now naturally move around inside your favourite game!
Press reviews by Journalists who've tried it in person
"With the WizDish, a person experiences the sensation of walking simply by sliding their feet back and forth" - The New Scientist
"Combine (the Rift) with the WizDish -- and players can walk on the spot for an even more engaging, immersive and aerobic experience"- Wired
"The shoes slide with ease, thanks to these special slippery studs. It takes some getting used to, but moving around in the virtual space isn't too tricky" - CNET
"You can then ‘walk’ on the spot and turn around the environment and it actually feels much better than it looks" - Games Weasel
"Wearing the space-age white studded shoes feels like a high-tech workout" - The Guardian
"That is so realistic" - T3 Magazine (video)
"the point here is that the Wizdish does a good job of allowing users to walk about in a virtual space without the worry of bumping into things" - Gizmag
Our extensive usability testing has allowed us to refine the design so it delivers all the fun you can handle. We believe that absolute simplicity provides ultimate versatility. You'll be able to walk, run and jump within virtual reality. You'll also be able to crouch (for real!) and even sit down. Our mission has been to create the most fun and practical Omni-direction treadmill for the home. The experience of walking and running in virtual reality is satisfying; wearing our special WizShoes you can hop on and off instantly; and the WizDish itself is portable, light and easy to store.
- Weighs just 7lb (3.5Kg)
- Just 3 feet wide by 2 inches high (92cm x 5cm)
- The motion is fun to do
- No assembly or adjustment required
- Suitable for casual and professional users
- Easy to carry, stack and store
- Good for your balance and posture
- Does not apply pressure or abrasion to any part of the body
This is the reaction from some VR professionals:
A VR equivalent of the computer mouse
The personal computer benefited enormously from the invention of the mouse. A similar innovation is needed to navigate the fully immersive worlds of Virtual Reality. The WizDish follows the same principles of total simplicity and affordability.
We take this very seriously and will produce a set of guidelines to ensure you enjoy the experience. We believe the WizDish is safer than many other leisure devices such as cycles, skates, trampolines and the like because you won't have any momentum, height or traffic to contend with. Everyone who tries it is surprised by how stable they feel. Even so we will suggest that sensible precautions are taken.
Most wizdish users feel comfortable and confident using the device in virtual reality. However, if you are organising a public event and wish to increase safety, we have designed a custom inflatable crash mat that will do just that.
Why no frame?
We are sometimes asked why we haven't provided a frame to support the user. The answer is we don't believe one is necessary, and in fact many who have used the WizDish tell us that they don't want a frame! A frame introduces a number of complications:
- It would likely affect your posture and encourage you to bend rather than crouch.
- It’s not a trivial task because if a frame toppled over or broke it could inflict injuries. Currently there are minimal lateral forces because you cannot move sideways and adding a pivot point on your body would introduce new forces to contend with.
- It would likely have to be very heavy to cope with the largest users and yet adjustable enough for the smallest. The WizDish has successfully been tested on many different users.
- Frames interfere with optical tracking such as Kinect and Vicon.
We find that people are very good at self-regulating their actions according to perceived risk, and therefore it's not a good idea to make them believe that they're invulnerable, or lull them into a false sense of security with something that only looks safe.
Is it walking or skating?
It's a zero impact combination of the two. Both feet are weight bearing and you slide, which is like skating, but the surface is concave so you keep you center of body mass equidistant between your feet as with real walking. Both of these are natural motions. Whatever it is, it's a satisfying and fun way to navigate virtual environments!
Bundled Tracking Software
Our PC Kinect software interprets leg movement and sends keystrokes to a foreground computer game to control walking and sprinting. Rotation comes from the HMD so in the simplest mode you will look where you're going (never a bad idea!). We will continue to expand the functionality in response to user feedback.
We will make our Kinect program available for free download but we are also keen for 3rd party developers and individuals to offer their own hardware and software additions.
Will the WizDish wear out or break?
The WizDish is a very simple design incorporating the strongest geometric shapes to provide the best structural rigidity. The WizDish is very hardwearing, and should remain functional after several hundred hours of use.
We also expect the WizShoes to last, so long as care is taken not to use them anywhere except on a WizDish. We use a clean door mat when putting them on and stepping on and off.
Future proof design
Starting in 2001 the WizDish was always designed with the future in mind. We delayed the patent in the hope that associated technologies would improve and become affordable. Things have become very exciting in the past year or two. We’ve been able to demonstrate the WizDish with the help of a Kinect and the Oculus Rift and while the feedback from this has been excellent the WizDish will benefit enormously from imminent improvements in both devices.
The simplicity of the WizDish design affords it the versatility to be used with the widest possible range of associated technology. For instance, highly accurate full body tracking AND rendering will allow you to look down and see your entire body rendered and that, combined with absolute freedom to easily turn and crouch, will magnify the impression that you have been transported to a virtual world.
It’s great fun to use the WizDish even without VR (e.g. with an iPod) and it’s deceptively easy and stable to use. With good HMD positional tracking and accurate foot movement detection it provides incredible VR experiences.
Something we noticed during recent public trials was that women were as enthusiastic about it as men and invariably came off the demo beaming. There was a definite “finally there’s something for us too” about their reactions. We want to embrace casual and mobile gaming so this was very encouraging.
The WizDish was invented with only one thing in mind: FUN.
However, we were approached by a sports technology university and during subsequent demonstrations it’s become apparent that there may be health benefits we hadn't foreseen. We now have plans to fully investigate muscle usage data. It’s common knowledge that simply standing and walking around is about the best form of exercise and that sitting down is bad for you. What isn't obvious, and we will have to establish, is whether the WizDish motion strengthens the areas that would relieve lower back pain. The WizDish rewards good posture which suggests that it could improve balance and core stability. Take crouching for example: if you don’t squat down in the way health and safety people recommend you might fall off! Think of it as a very easy to use balance board.
We believe there is great potential for VR being used as a motivation for regular exercise.
We had to invent the flat bottomed skate to use with the WizDish. Each foot has 29 bones and about 100 muscles and tendons. The advantage of the WizShoes is that it allows you to use all of them to help you balance. The concave shape of the WizDish does the rest.
Who can use it?
You don’t have to be able to skate to use the WizDish but we will acknowledge that those who can take to it instantly. As a rough guide we would suggest that if you have the physical ability to ride a bicycle you should be fine. If not, the simple design allows a variety of accessibility options to be added.
3rd Party videos
Crouching and turning demo for FAQ
We estimate that carriage will be £15 for the UK and Northern Ireland.
The WizDish weighs less than 8lb (4Kg) and designed to be portable and the WizShoes are roughly 1Kg so we don't expect the shipping costs to be prohibitive. You must also take into account your local taxes and import duties etc. Some countries don't charge these for low cost exercise equipment.
Australia and New Zealand £60
These amounts should be taken as a rough estimate. We will do our best to minimise them.
We may request that your organise your own carriage to other countries.
Risks and challenges
We've had 10 years of challenges in the development of the WizDish so we are no stranger to dealing with them. We started before the Nintendo Wii was even thought of and few people understood why anyone would want to use their whole body in a video game. The design is the result of a great deal of usability testing and now that we have refined it to one that almost everyone will find easy and enjoyable we don't expect any surprises during production. Over the years we have forged an excellent working relationship with 4 different WizDish fabricators.
Dr Charles King, our CTO has worked in the USA and in the Far East and has
contacts in China through which we have developed a strong relationship with
a Chinese company where the WizShoes shoes will be specially made.
We are certain that the user testing has identified all the scientific and manufacturing problems we may encounter, and that we've resolved every issue. Should we face any new dilemmas we'll deal with them in our usual calm and professional way.
We have been granted US patent 7470218 for the basic design and utility and another patent is pending for the ultra-low friction technology we've developed. This enables the revolutionary new locomotion action that is so much fun to do.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We've just shot a quick video to demonstrate this. It shows how you have the freedom to move your body and have it tracked by a camera for really full immersion. http://youtu.be/zL32YMyvvB0
So long as the shoes are big enough size isn't critical as you don't flex your foot.
In our test so far almost all men could easily use the US size 12 (UK 11) and the women US size 7 (UK 6). We may keep with those and then make pairs up especially for people with larger feet, or increase the sizes, depending on feedback. We will always ensure you will have a pair you can use.
We have even had people with size 5 feet use size 13 shoes without problem, but 2 sizes seems best for both yourselves and us. You can share a pair because your feet don't get hot and we can streamline our already minimalist inventory to ensure efficient delivery.
- (40 days)