Are human-powered motion simulators the future of VR?

Sometimes less is more.

A new VR motion simulator from the company Kinerse is making waves online thanks to its human-powered design that eliminates the need for external power. Rather than relying on motors or electronic actuators, this “passive motion platform” uses your own weight to simulate physical movement through a simple lever system.

The device is completely open-source, meaning anyone can download the project files and start working on their own customizations. Kinerse hopes that by making his designs available to the public, the community will feel encouraged to make their own improvements and help perfect the original design. Designers can even sell their creations without fear of the company taking legal action.

The design is surprisingly simple. The user sits on a flat base equipped with two large handles. Pulling these controls forward and back allows the user to adjust the orientation (pitch & roll). The Touch controllers are used to identify the location of the controls and base relative to the user. While the current version only supports 2DoF (degrees of freedom), the company hopes eventually to bring 3DoF functionality (pitch, roll, and yaw) to provide an even more realistic experience.

Obviously, a motion simulator with such a unique design supports a very limited number of VR games and apps. To show how his human-powered motion sim can be used, Kinerse has developed his own original VR game, Andromeda Sports† This fast-paced racing experience is now available for the Meta Quest 2 and lets you navigate futuristic environments with your very own hoverboard.

You can better understand the controls in training mode and then put your newfound skills to the test in MIX mode, which combines racetracks to create an infinite number of possibilities. You can also race asynchronously against other players in ASYNCH ONLINE mode.

In the future, Kinerse hopes its open-source human-powered motion simulator will be adapted for use with a wider variety of games and apps. The device is still in the early stages of development. As a result, the company’s passive motion platform may not work comfortably with all body shapes and sizes.

Interested parties can download the project files for free from GitHub† The device currently only works with the Meta Quest 2 VR headset, although Kinerse has expressed interest in expanding to additional VR platforms.

Image credit: Kinerse

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