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New Idea for active omnidirectionnal treadmill ( virtual floor )

edited March 2016 in Oculus Share
Hi everyone, i'm Yoan (french sorry for my english)

I wanna share with you an idea i have found to create maybe an ultra thin ACTIVE omnidirectional treadmill and get your feedback, advises please.

A link that shows all the attempt before to create this kind of device :

The Infinadeck is still the only one available today that could be a solution to simulate a virtual floor....
But it's definitely too big and far from affordable !
This technology seems under development but VR will need one day a "virtual floor" to move infinitely and freely in virtual environment...

Because VR passion me, i want to push it and try to find a solution to solve the problem of movement in virtual space.
That's why i wanna share my ideas.

My purpose was to find a way to make a FLAT surface that roll on itself in any direction, that could defile like a floor under a person in movement.

The idea use many mini ball bearing that cover our surface and the challenge was to make these marbles rolls in place, in harmony in the same direction, same speed.
And my solution to do it is to put under every marble a simple mini disk in rotation !


1 Imagine you have ball that u could keep in place in a way that allows it to roll in place.
2 Take a disk and place it under this ball ( in contact with this disk )
3 See what the ball does when the disk begin to rotate. The balls rolls on itself.
4 And to change the direction of the rolling ball u just have to move the disk under the balls to make it touch an other position on the disk ( degree ).

I explain myself 
An immobile disk has 360° right.
Now if i rotate this disk each of these 360° become a unique moving direction that can take the ball.
So a disk in rotation have an infinity of moving direction and the ball can take this direction if we keep it place in a way that allows to rolls in place above the disk.

So this is the solution to make turn many ball in harmony in the same direction.
A simple disk in rotation !

What do u think of it guy ?

Questions, advices, comment are welcome, thanx a lot Yoan


  • jeffgoldwarfjeffgoldwarf Posts: 120
    edited March 2016
    So you would need hundreds or potentially thousands of motors to turn and actuate all those discs? Does not sound viable, let alone more cost effective than existing ODT solutions.
    edited March 2016
    Hi guys thanx for reply,

    What do you mean by limited travel. A disk can turn at the infinity...
    A device that can recycle at the infinity, yes.
    Maybe u talk about an elastic sphere that we would stretch around a flat disk ?
    I'm in touch with a start up that already developed it ! And it works !

    I understand your position and because maybe like you i have not the money and enough knowledge i prefer to share my ideas or it will stay in my books forever and die alone...

    There would be a platform to support all the disks, and all the disks just need one motor to rotate together infinitely.
    If every disk look like pulley we could catch every of them by a simple belt to make them rotate.
    And to change the direction of the rolling balls, we just have to move lightly the platform of disk ( that is under all the balls )

    So one motor to rotate all the disk whatever number there are, and one motor to move the platform to change direction of the balls.

    30 years of development in this domain and nothing that is satisfying.
    The idea of a virtual floor is so complex that why wanna share my ideas, solutions and even the weirdest !
    I really want find a way to create an affordable virtual floor.

  • Roming22Roming22 Posts: 141
    I found the idea of disk powering balls quite nice.

    You will have to solve at least these issues:
    • Latency: detect that the users wishes to move in a specific direction (or stop) fast enough that when the user will move, the treadmill is ready to spin up the disks.
    • Power: the user's weight will rest on small number of balls during motion, which means that the balls must have a high torque.

    But please, no BELIEVR community. I'm afraid of the sites I could end up visiting if I missed the V key and instead hit the B.
    edited March 2016
    Thanx for reply, I actually make a prototype of this idea after conclusive tests of it.

    You'r right about latency and because the system will be quite light weight, the inertia and latency are reduced.
    The hips of the user will be constantly tract and replace to the center.
    As u said i would have also to find a way to "predict" the direction of the user to make the system ultra reactive.
    If i could measure the pressure under the feet i could anticipate the balance of the hips and maybe direction of the user...

    The surface of the disk/pulley will be in kind of caoutchouc or highly gripping material to make the balls rolls.
    The Motor to move user and rotate the disk have to be very high torque and got enough speed to allows at least a "normal" walk speed.

    Right no believr community lol
    Sound finally scary for me too
  • calebkraftcalebkraft Posts: 17
    in every prototype there are stages.

    you're in the stage where you are imagining a mechanical prototype. It does sound mechanically possible. As you build it you'll find lots of little tweaks necessary to make it truly possible. You'll encounter things like inertial and belt stretching.

    You may even be able to build a neat demo. I'd love to see it!

    Your proposal will take a lot of time and development and therefore money to even see if you can get it to a feasible place. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, I'm just saying it isn't going to be cheap to find out.

    Good luck!
    calebkraftThanx for your support !

    I'm just making it for fun and because of passion.
    You are right the idea is(sound) simple but "primitive" and too "mechanical" lol

    The disk and the ball was my first solution to make omnidirectional surface but not ideal to walk on it because of the balls ( about 2,5 cm space between each balls... ). We would have to put some special pad under foot to not feel it ^_^ Or a special omnidirectional and infinity hard floor power by the balls ( but too complicated this way ).

    I will make diary videos of the work in progress soon as possible
  • henleybhenleyb Posts: 63
    Hiro Protagonist
    edited April 2016
    Since the floor will always move in one direction, how about using the balancing tech now available (quadcopters etc)  to move a platform of ball bearings with nothing underneath them. With four pistons controlling the overall tilt and balance of the user, it may be feasible to give the feeling of walking on a flat floor by tilting the platform of bearings one way or another slightly; gravity would be the 'motor' and the user would always end up in the centre of the floor through the software always wanting to maintain 'balance'.

    It will probably need some kind of controllable friction on the bearings so it's not like ice when you step up on it.
    edited April 2016
    Hi Henleyb
    Clever idea, i though about it too ^_^, but
    I'm afraid we would have to apply too much in inclination to start to move the user. Feeling would be strange and unnatural i think, but always an idea to explore.
    The balancing platform could be use to imitate inclination of virtual environment.

    I wanna realize a completely FLAT virtual floor, for the most NATURAL experience possible.
    Balls and disks aren't the ideal way i know, but the first one i found, to make a new and much affordable technic to create an active omnidirectional "treadmill"/surface.
    Maybe with some special  pad that could stay flat whatever inclination and position of the foot on it could make natural to use.

    In parallel
    I try to find a way to create TRUE FLAT and ULTRA THIN omnidirectional treadmill on the one we could walk but also spread our entire body and move/roll it infinitely in any direction.
    Maybe a big flat disk that could produce speed and mini "omnidirectional vibration" to make move object on its surface thanx to the vibration that could be control...

    To go in one direction (forward example) on the vibrating disk.
    If i could make this big disk goes/"vibrate" backward and forward, i would have to be in contact with the disk just when it will go forward and lose contact whit it when the disk will go backward.

    But how to lose contact with the disk in a brief instant ...

    Any idea ?
    Thanx for your reaction ^_^
    and again forgive my english Yoan from France

  • Sounds cool to me. I would think that you may need a matter of some sort for a virtual floor to work. A dance floor would be cool too

    edited April 2016
    Hi debbieConant happy that's sound cool to you ^_^
    I'm not sure i understand by " matter of some sort  "

    Of course when i say "VIRTUAL" floor i mean platform made of MATTER that could mimic the omnidirectional behavior of a real floor to move, walk, crawl infinitely in any direction.  
    Yea it would be cool if on this special floor we could move as want and even dancing !

    Thanx for your reply, Yoan

  • HappyHealsHappyHeals Posts: 1
    edited December 2020
    what about the bearing balls not having a motor at all but just motion detectors, your still anchored on a disc.
    The bearings can also serve as buttons to activate motion capture once you step on them,  im thinking the balls are made up of some kind of anti slip/sound dampening hard rubber.  so you don't even need special shoes

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