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Microsoft's files patent application for a possible vibrating floor mat for VR gaming

The patent application describes the floor mat as a computing device that could prevent users from colliding into objects.

October 07, 2019 / 03:42 PM IST

Microsoft has filed a patent for a vibrating floor mat that will assist in VR gaming.

The VR-enabled floor mat will deal with a real-world problem faced by several VR users. Virtual reality offers an immersive experience, completely blocking out your surroundings.

And, while the experience is quite astonishing, you are still confined to a closed space, surrounded by walls, tables, furniture, and other objects. Blocking out these objects from sight increases your risk of colliding with them while moving.

Several VR gamers have turned to rubber floor mats to prevent accidentally colliding into furniture or objects while gaming. However, Microsoft’s vibrating floor mat, if it sees the light of day, takes it one step further, acting as a fail-safe that tackles a real-world VR issue that many users experience.

VR provides full immersion, completely blocking out the outside world, including walls, coffee tables, shelves and other objects that a player may hit or bump into while playing a VR game.

The guardian system in virtual reality systems prevents players from colliding with objects by displaying warning messages when a player leaves the designated space. But documented complaints on social media have proven that the guardian system isn’t enough.

According to a report from Variety, “a Russian VR gamer is said to have died after falling through a glass table in 2017.”

The patent application describes the floor mat as a computing device that could prevent users from colliding into objects by providing haptic feedback through vibrations.

Engadget reports that one idea of the patent could be available as interlocking floor tiles, which would allow users to add a few surrounding tiles to the mat’s square footage if the user doesn’t have sufficient space.

While a patent application isn’t confirmation by any means, it does make the vibrating floor mat a very-real possibility.

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first published: Oct 7, 2019 01:30 pm