The delicious-looking device folds up like an oversized taco for easy transportation and storage.
After becoming frustrated by the lack of effective walking solutions for VR, Mark Dufour came up with his own bizarre contraption he calls the Taco VR platform. First reported by Hackaday, Dufour’s food-inspired device combines a unique-looking omnidirectional treadmill with an advanced robotic platform. When not in use, the device can fit into a small area of your home or office.
To recreate the sensation of walking, the Taco VR platform features a series of motors, a slip ring for continuous rotation, an Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3 microcontroller board, and two pixy2 cameras that track each step you take in VR and move the platform under your feet.
But why call it Taco VR? When you’re not using the device, you can fold it up like an oversized taco for easy transportation and storage. Dufour developed the treadmill as part of a hackathon, documenting his efforts in a four-part video series on YouTube.
The Taco VR platform uses gears to connect the stationary base plate to the platform. This ensures that the platform will always face the same direction as the tiles on the floor. To make sure your feet always have a place to step, Dufour uses two disc platforms that use sensors to move the treadmill as you take each step.
At the moment, the platform doesn’t support up/down movement, but according to a blog post, Dufour says it may be possible to introduce said capabilities over time.
To build his Taco VR platform, Dufour used Infento to find sturdy prototyping components. He also used 3D printing to make any gears Infento doesn’t carry.
Currently, there are no safety features built into the Taco VR platform. According to Dufour, if this were to become an actual consumer product, he could add a large circular encasing or something that you could use to catch yourself if you lose your balance.
The VR treadmill industry has made significant progress over the past several years. That said, the best solution will always be to deliver experiences where users can physically walk around, such as location-based VR games like Uncontained. There are also home solutions like Cybershoes or Virtuix, but Dufour wants something where he’s able to “feel” the ground with his own shoes or even his own bare feet.
For now, the Taco VR platform is a prototype that we all wish we could try. You can learn more about the Taco VR platform on Dufour’s blog page, Blogfarts. He’s also listed everything you’ll need to build our own Taco VR setup on Github.
Image Credit: Mark Dufour