Today’s virtual reality experiences achieve immersion by stimulating the senses of sight and hearing. Guo Cheng, the founder of STEPVR and Delft University of Technology alumnus, believes that at least one additional sense needs to be stimulated for VR to live up to its promises.
The missing sense is the sense of balance and spatial orientation, also known as the vestibular sense. Cheng’s solution is straight out of Ready Player One, and its name is Gates01.
Gates01 is an omnidirectional motion system that covers an area of approximately 3m2. The system consists of a metal cage with a harness in the middle. The user is supposed to enter the harness and stand on an omnidirectional treadmill that enables unrestricted natural movement.
Founded in 2013, STEPVR is an experienced company that knows how to put a product on the market. In 2019, the company launched an ultra-space free-roam VR esports brand, Future Battle, in China. Since then, more than 140 Future Battle stores have been opened, and STEPVR user base has reached 1 million.
“The launch of Gates01 is considered as a product of STEPVR’s continuous iteration from an ultra-space VR esports venue to a small and convenient space, and it is also the company’s attempt to enter the consumer market,” STEPVR explains in its press release.
Gates01 will be first available in China and later will make its way to Japan, South Korea, the Middle East, North America, and Europe, most likely in 2023. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much it will cost.
Since omnidirectional motion systems like Gates01 are a new category of consumer products, it’s difficult to estimate how many people are there who are willing to sacrifice 3m2 of their living space to boost their VR immersion, but it’s great that companies like STEPVR are not afraid to find out.