I was surprised by how much I liked the original 3DRudder prototype when I tried it out a while back. It’s a strange little solution to the issue of mobility in VR – but then, they all kind of are. It’s a strange little problem to begin with.
The peripheral apparently began life as a foot-powered mouse designed by an architect looking for another input device while working in CAD programs. Turned out it was actually a pretty good way to get around in VR, as well. The device looks a bit like a bathroom scale or maybe a Roomba or that 80s electronic game Simon – it sits on the ground and has two distinct sides for the user’s feet.
The bottom of the device is round, allowing it to be titled in 360-degrees. When the user applies pressure to that side, the system responds accordingly, moving the player in that direction. It’s pretty stupid simple and it works – though, I’ve spoken to at least one frequent VR user who complained of nausea using the device, so that’s worth noting here.
This year at CES, the hardware startup is releasing the inevitable wireless follow up, named, you guessed it, the 3dRudder Wireless. The new model looks to be pretty similar to the original version, with Oculus/Vive/Gear VR compatibility. The new model connects over Bluetooth and features a battery that promises 12 hours of use on a charge.
The new version is set for a spring launch, priced at $199 — $20 more than the wired version.