No more Wardrobe!

After some consideration, I have decided to abandon the wardrobe approach… in favour of something better. I was beginning to feel that the design was too complicated. I would have needed to mount the wardrobe to the wall, the support arm to the wardrobe, a hook to the support arm, as well as a bespoke system for rotating it out of the way. It would have reduced storage space, been unhelpful to people who do not wish to use the Omni in their bedrooms, and I would have likely needed to keep removing the contents to make space.

So, what method am I adopting now?

The wall mounted approach.

The key to this is the length of the support arm. The longest I could find was this one from RDX. It sticks out 3 feet from the wall.

wall mounted support

 

When not in use it folds down like so:

Arm Stowed

 

Taking into account the attachment ring is set back a little. I stood where this would put me and extended my arms to see if the wall would be in the way:

reach out

 

No problem with leaning forward to run either:

Run

My one concern here is that the diagonal strut might be in the way. Raising the support would increase the length of the cord, causing me to lean forward too far. It’s hard to tell without a proper assessment but there should be ways around it. Expect delivery within a week.

I’ve also uploaded a video demonstrating the new swivel I’m using:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XATDHCIif-Y

I tried some cable management strategies and all I can say is I hope the consumer Rift will be completely wireless! It’s not impossible, but there’s a lot of DIY involved to stop the cables tangling otherwise.

See you on the forums 🙂

sutekiB

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1944625487/omni-move-naturally-in-your-favorite-game

http://www.virtuix.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VirtuixOmni

Run! Crouch! Go Prone!

Hello everyone, sorry it’s been so long since my last update.

I’ve been engrossed with the Omni Kickstarter, but enough excuses – time for some news!

While I haven’t begun to assemble anything yet, I have been playing around with ideas,
and improving the design.

My earlier ‘tie-off’ strategy had some problems. It meant that in order for you to touch the
floor with your hand there had to be a lot of slack. So much so, that it would only ‘catch’
you after lunging quite far into the room. This caused me some concern, as I would have to
worry about hitting my head against objects in the room, including the wardrobe.

Also, after studying the Omni videos carefully, it became clear that in order to facilitate
running, you need some kind of support to keep your center of gravity at a certain point,
and my support was too far out. Reining it in would inhibit crouching, and defeat a large part
of my objective.

Then a few weeks ago, I began to wonder if there might be a device out there that could be adjusted
on the fly – kept short for support one moment, then extended for freedom of movement the next.
It turns out there is, and you’ve probably all seen them.

Flexi Dog Lead

 

The Flexi retracting dog lead.

There is another advantage to this set up. Not only can you now crouch to your heart’s
content, you can also go….

…PRONE.

I got the lead in the post this morning and filmed my first test – that’s why I’m fumbling
and looking a bit awqward, trying to find the right amount of slack.
I was hesitant when it came to jogging because the wardrobe
is not bolted to the wall yet and it was shaking a lot, as I expected! Go here to see the video
on my YouTube channel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRf4CynDTlQ

 

Note that I’m only hooking it on the wardrobe, not the swing-out arm
as I haven’t attached that yet, which is why I could only test one direction.

I’m happy to say it worked as well I had hoped. There is a problem with the harness at the
moment however. It’s too loose on me, and because I’m holding the lead at the front, the harness is
twisting around my body. I can either make adjustments to it or get a better fitting one, which
should solve the problem. Note that in the final build the lead will be incorporated into
the jacket so you don’t have to hold it!

Have you pre-ordered your Omni yet? Only 34 days left on Kickstarter!

Later guys,

sutekiB.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1944625487/omni-move-naturally-in-your-favorite-game

http://www.virtuix.com

Announcement!

As I haven’t been able to make much progress lately, I thought I may as well officially unveil the name for my VR harness.

Drum-roll please. Ahem.

Introducing… VRona!

(Applause) Thank you, thank you, you’re so kind.

Why VRona? Three reasons:

1) It has VR in it. You may have deduced this.

2) Verona means ‘Truth’. Appropriate when you consider VR makes gaming experiences more believable.

3) It sounds like Leona, my favourite singer 🙂

 

Now, it so happens that yesterday I went to a Leona concert in Cardiff. I’ve been a fan since I voted for her on X-Factor back in ’06, yet this was the first time I’d seen the woman of my dreams perform live.

I decided to put on VRona as it would be my last chance to wear it as a regular jacket. I’m sentimental like that (there’s a point to this anecdote, bear with me).

So it was a great show. What a face, what a voice, and she plays the drums too!

As a special surprise, she brought her family on stage (some of them live in Cardiff) and there was an impromptu proposal between one of her cousins and their partner. Aww. They decided to have a family photo and borrowed a camera-phone from someone in the crowd.

I was sitting there taking in the spectacle like everyone else when all of a sudden I had this urge. I rose out of my seat (symbolically, now I think about it) and waved my hands above my head.

I don’t know why I did it. Maybe it was the wine, or the excitement of the occasion. I had no idea if I was even visible from there.

Today, upon returning home I checked the twittosphere and saw that the pic had been uploaded.

Dear readers, I don’t know if you believe in fate or not, but if you scroll down now you will see that I had somehow managed to jump up at just the right time. Look closely and you will observe a wonderful thing – VRona & Leona side by side, a special moment preserved for all eternity.

A moment like this. Some people wait a lifetime.

A moment like this. Some people wait a lifetime.

 

I swear that’s me. Here I am with the ticket after the gig:

Totally worth it.

Totally worth it.

 

It’s a sign. This was meant to be. I shall complete this project!

Thanks for reading,

sutekiB

http://www.thegallerygame.com/

http://www.virtuix.com/

http://www.oculusvr.com/

Mega Update!

Spent the weekend puzzling over the design and I now see this is going to be quite complicated.

 

Let’s get down to business.

I was going with the idea of putting the support assembly on top of one corner of the wardrobe, as I figured this would be the only thing in the room I could hit.

I repeated the lunge-test, and this time I dangled a thread tied to a weight down from my head to the floor, so I could measure the distance I had traveled.

It came as a shock to see it was four feet.

measuring lunge

 

 

The problem became clear when I measured the support-arm:

support arm

It’s only about 2 1/2 feet. I’m going to bash my head into the wardrobe if I fall that way!

 

Did I consider giving up? Nope, this is the first thought that came into my head…

Hello wardrobe. I want to play a game.

Hello wardrobe. I want to play a game.

 

It became obvious that I would have to mount the support assembly in the front middle, not the corner, which meant practically removing the sides. This will reduce stability however, so I will need to add supports that keep the top from buckling, but which are out of the way of my head should I ever fall in their direction. Here is a crude drawing:

new look

 

I’ll also need to make the coat rack removable, and find a convenient temporary storage solution for while I’m enjoying VR.

 

The wardrobe must be secured to the wall. A couple of brackets and expansion bolts might do.

above

 

 

I could leave the support arm sticking out into the room, but I’d rather rotate it neatly to one side. My lack of wood/metal working skills may be showing now, but this is the solution I’ve come up with:

schematic

 

 

The support arm has four holes in the base. I’m going to drill a couple of extra ones, and use these to secure it to a circular wooden disk. The disk will be held in place by four corners which are screwed into the wardrobe. The disk can rotate. There are four flat-topped bolts sitting in four holes that are drilled in the disk. There are also four holes in the wardrobe beneath. When the disk is rotated so that the support arm sticks out into the room, the holes line up and the bolts fall down, securing the assembly. When I’m done I use something like a latch to lift the bolts out so I can rotate the assembly to the right. There are a couple of clips attached the left-hand corners that slightly over-hang the wheel, which stops the assembly from tipping over.

 

weak carabiner

The carabiner on the strap looks a little too fragile. I’ll buy two stronger ones made for climbers and replace one on this end. I’ll shorten the cord to the desired length, sew a loop in it, and put the other one there. This will hook through a ball bearing swivel. I’m not sure which one, I’m still browsing – but I’ve seen one designed for big fish that can take 180kgs/400lbs.

The reason for a swivel is so the cord doesn’t get twisted. This could be noticeable, affect how far you can crouch, and also cause you to wobble while falling.

The swivel will go on a strong hook which is bolted onto this brace:

brace

 

You might recognize it – it’s the same as on the other end! No I don’t have one, I’m going to buy another bracket. Unscrew its brace, drill a couple of holes on the end of the one I have and attach it there. The reason for doing this is simply so I don’t put too much pressure on one point of the support arm – it could fracture or bend it. The second support arm will be useful as a spare in case something goes wrong anyway.

 

So much DIY, kinda tempted to just drill into the ceiling now…

 

http://www.virtuix.com

http://www.oculusvr.com

http://www.thegallerygame.com

Update!

Fairly productive day, here’s the news.

I went to the hardware store looking for parts and found these:

Bracket

The aerial bracket cost me £6.89. Not bad. Doubt it would hold my full weight but i’m hoping it will be strong enough to stop me falling.

 

Bracket Base

 

I need to figure out how to bolt this onto my wardrobe, and still have it swivel. I also got a bungee cord which has the same fastening as my harness.

 

Sadly, even though the bungee is short, it stretched too much. I tried folding and twisting it – no good.

Turns out though I needn’t have bothered. I decided to test the cord that came with my harness, and was pleased with the result.

Bracket retracted

For now I want to place it in the corner, but I haven’t ruled out the middle yet. Still deliberating.

 

bracket extended

The biggest challenge left could be finding a rotating joint to go on the end. Ideally I’ll find an easy way to adjust the cord length too.

 

Stress test 1!

I hooked the cord onto one of the curtain rail holders and crouched down to give myself the slack I was aiming for. I then tied it off on the other end. I lunged out to one side to see how far I traveled. While it was a bit further than I wanted, I found it acceptable, and you can always adjust it if you like. You just won’t be able to crouch down as far. This is much better than the bungee, because you could feel the resistance with the bungee as you crouched but it didn’t stop you falling. With the non-flex cord it’s the other way around.

You’ll notice I didn’t manage to fasten the harness, as it’s quite fiddly getting it on at the moment, until I sew it into the jacket. Only had 10 seconds to get into position. Had it on upside down a couple of times!  Notice the burning eyes of intensity.

 

Jacket straps planned

 

I’m going to sew straps into the jacket over the harness to make it easier to put on – a bit like the loops in a dressing gown that keep the belt at the front.

 

More to come.

 

http://www.virtuix.com

http://www.oculusvr.com

 

Hi, I’m Ben AKA sutekiB. Welcome to my VR Blog!

Get ready for the future guys – it’s on its way.

Virtual Reality or ‘the promised land’ is nearly here. Soon you will be able to become whoever you want, exist in whichever world you choose, thanks to the progress that has been made by Oculus VR and Virtuix.

The advancement of technology is finally making it possible. To get the most out of the experience, you will want to purchase Virtuix’s Omni (omni-directional passive treadmill) when it’s released, so that you can physically explore digital worlds.

While this device comes with a waist-high support ring, many of us who want that extra level of freedom will wish to use a suspended harness instead.

These will no doubt become available in due course, but for now I’ve decided to have a go myself, and will be sharing my progress with you. If the end result is any good then I hope it will carry on as a useful model for people who want to save a little money by making their own.

WARNING:  No minor should attempt to make a suspended harness by themselves, if at all. They should always seek help from a parent or guardian in the making and testing of one. There is a little danger involved, even though your weight is not being suspended off the floor – it’s really only there to brace you in the event that you fall. Basically it’s a safety tether.  Still, you need to be careful.

Progress so far. I’ve taken a simple sports-training harness and laid it over a spare leather-jacket whose sleeves I’ve removed. The straps are very light and you don’t notice them. The attachment point is at the back, which is good for VR, and the buckle at the front is large and sturdy. I will try to attach the harness to the jacket so I don’t have to put them on separately. I think epaulettes are the way to go, if I make sure they have enough slack so they don’t get ripped off.

Hard to see as it's black like my jacket but the buckle at the front is large and  sturdy.

Hard to see as it’s black like my jacket but the buckle at the front is large and sturdy.

You can see the attachment point here. Strong metal link.

You can see the attachment point here. Strong metal link.

http://www.virtuix.com

http://www.oculusvr.com