Are you a virtual reality fan, who wishes the whole experience could be made even more immersive than it already is? Do you have the cash to throw down for a gaming chair that looks like something a Star Trek captain or James Bond villain would sit in? If so, you may be interested in the new “3 Degree of Freedom Motion Simulator” that’s just launched on Kickstarter.
Created by U.K. entrepreneur Mark Towner, the cockpit-style motion simulator takes the form of a hemispherical platform, seated on an array of omni-wheels. It’s similar in concept to the kind of motion simulator rigs usually reserved for large VR arcades, but intended for home use. The three degrees referenced in its name describe the device’s ability to yaw, pitch, and roll; essentially giving users the ability to quickly (but silently) rotate in any direction. For extra verisimilitude, built-in tactile transducers add immersive surround vibration. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to VR experiences like racing or flight simulators.
“VR is all about the thrill of adventure, of exploring, of flirting with danger in another world — but when you’re flying a Spitfire in VR you’re only getting half the experience,” Towner told Digital Trends. “It might look and sound amazing, but your sofa doesn’t feel like a plane’s cockpit. Most motion simulators are ugly steel frames, noisy as hell, and insanely expensive. We put the user at the center of gravity in a large half-sphere and rotate them instead of pushing them up and down.”
A particularly neat touch is the contraption’s modular design, which allows users to swap out the regular seat for specialized add-ons to fit the particular VR scenario they want to enjoy.
“There is a huge community of people who love racing, space, and flying games, but without the budget to buy a decent simulator,” Towner continued. “This really gives people an amazing new design to enjoy their hobby, and even learn new skills — such as piloting aircraft, learning to drive, or practicing flying a helicopter. This gives people the chance to experience some thrills on the race track with friends, without the cost or danger.”
As ever, we offer our warnings about the potential risks inherent in crowdfunding campaigns. However, if you’re aware of this and still want to get involved, head over to the project’s Kickstarter page. Prices vary, but the early bird option is still available for $2,590 at time of writing. Shipping is set to take place in May 2019.