Powered Roller-Skates Going Nowhere Fast

Posted 28 Jun 2006 at 23:35 UTC by steve Share This

Okay, this isn't strictly robotics hardware but it was just too bizarre not to tell you about. Hiroo Iwata of the University of Tskukuba VR Lab in Japan has developed a pair of powered shoes that allow the wearer to walk in any direction at any speed and yet remain where they are. So, let's say you're standing one meter in front of your desk. Turn on your shoes, walk 100 paces due south, then another 50 paces curving gradually to the East. Where are you now? Still standing one meter in front of your desk. It may not sound very practical by itself but add virtual reality goggles and it suddenly makes sense. In the virtual world you're walking through the scenery while in the real world you're looking like a geek wearing funny shoes and strange glasses. You can see a presentation on the powered shoes at the upcoming SIGGRAPH 2006 conference. The University has put up a video showing the shoes in action (MPEG format). I wonder what happens when you put a pair of these on Asimo?

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