Choosing the right hardware for your project is paramount to its success. There are many solutions on the market, from headsets to treadmills, each with its respective strengths and weaknesses. If you're on this page, you're probably evaluating your options with regard to the latter, which is why we have developed a comparison chart that will allow you to better understand which solution is right for you.
First, we will identify the criteria being used to evaluate the different technologies and why these are important elements when considering the inclusion of a treadmill in your product. For this comparison, we will be looking at the following elements.
vODTs are motorized treadmills which resemble oversized versions of the treadmills you would use at a fitness gym. Instead of the treadmill itself being omnidirectional, powerful redirection algorithms are used to give the user a convincing sense of omnidirectionality.
ODTs come in varying shapes and sizes as different manufacturers have put forward a variety of unique solutions. The underlying principle, however, comes down to centering the user on the platform in both the X and Y dimension through a motorized drive system.
Instead of using driven components, slipmills rely on a low coefficient of friction between the ground and the user's feet. This significantly reduces the complexity of the device but requires the user to be supported by some sort of harness.
Virtually omnidirectional treadmills such as the K-01 pod offer an incredibly immersive experience due to its state-of-the-art control system combined with the direct drive of the treadmill's walking belt. Most users forget that they are on a treadmill after only a few seconds of walking around on it.
Although they do not require the user to change their gait significantly, the mechanical complexity of an ODT comes with side-effects such as backlash and high inertia, which, in turn, causes the user to have difficulty finding his or her sense of balance. This causes a slight learning curve and a constant reminder of its presence.
Walking on a low friction surface with a harness takes some getting used to and acts as a constant reminder that you are not actually roaming freely within the virtual realm. This causes slipmills to fall short in regards to their immersive capabilities.
As powerful as the V-Orient technology is, it does not adapt to all environments. Often, the environment needs to be slightly adapted to fit the V-Orient's capabilities. However, the fact that the user retains his full mobility without compromising his comfort within the experience opens up possibilities that are not available on any other platform.
As the user can go in any direction, ODTs offer great design flexibility and can be dropped into almost any content. However, design considerations are required with regard to the fact that most models do not allow the user to crouch / kneel easily.
As the user can go in any direction, Slipmills offer great design flexibility and can be dropped directly into lots of content. However, design considerations are required with regard to the fact that most models do not allow the user to crouch / kneel conveniently.
vODTs come at a fairly high price point but require less maintenance than a standard fitness treadmill. Due to their mechanical simplicity, these devices are inherently reliable.
Due to their mechanical complexity, ODTs have a high cost of acquisition and usually require specialized maintenance, driving down their cost efficiency. However, the extent of the latter varies greatly from one design principle to another.
In virtue of the lack of moving parts, Slipmills are incredibly cost efficient. They are cheap to acquire, they do not require much maintenance, they have a very small footprint and only inexpensive consumables such as shoes or friction pads are required over the lifetime of the device.
vODTs are great for applications where the treadmill needs to be imperceptible to the user as they are the only solution on this list that will allow the user to truly forget about the treadmill's presence. This does come at the cost of slightly longer development time and a higher cost of acquisition.
ODTs are a great solution for applications where maximum design flexibility is necessary and where the user will be allowed enough time to get comfortable with the hardware. This design flexibility comes at a slight cost to the user's sense of immersion.
Slipmills are a great choice for applications where profit margins are very thin and where the user will have time to get comfortable with the device through repeated use.
Even within a single field, each application has its own set of objectives and constraints. Due to this reality, some locomotion solutions are simply better suited to a given set of circumstances. At Aperium, we have chosen to make no compromise with regard to user immersion in order to ensure that the end user enjoys a seamless experience from the moment he or she steps into the virtual realm.
If you are unsure whether our vODT solutions can meet your needs or if you are curious to see just how immersive the V-Orient technology has proven itself to be, feel free to reach out to us for more information!