Walking, running in virtual reality is still a challenge in 2022: teleportation in VR does work but it doesn’t feel completely natural, walking around requires a big room or a few neat tricks (French studio BackLight, for example, mastered the technique of creating location-based experiences that give you the illusion that you are completely free to move everywhere).
Sabo is a new VR locomotion alternative created by Robin Exbrayat. As a student at École de design Nantes Atlantique (a French design school), he created a VR controller that you can use with your feet. It includes a joystick and a gyroscope: just move or rotate your foot, and you will move, turn around in VR. A button is also available, which means you can use your foot to trigger in-app actions.
Like most VR locomotion devices, you will need at least a few minutes to get the hang of Sabo. Still, it is quite intuitive, and a short demo clearly showed the advantages of this kind of approach. For example, you can easily move in one direction while looking elsewhere (which is useful for action and adventure games). Moreover, your hands don’t have to be focused on moving around, and are therefore available for other tasks and actions. Does this mean Sabo is the revolutionary device we’ve been waiting for? Not quite. Each VR locomotion device has its pros and cons. Sabo is no exception. It does not allow the user to physically “walk”, and as stated above, it requires a little bit of experience to improve the precision of the motion. In any case, there is little chance a single device will dominate this market in the years to come. Still, Sabo has interesting features: a compact form-factor, a device that can be used standing up or sitting down, and we think it’s more versatile than the Cybershoes.
Sabo is a student project and therefore just a prototype at this stage. However, Robin Exbrayat is considering launching it as a commercial product. We will of course keep you informed on 3DVF of any further news about Sabo.