Texas-based Cambrian thinks it has the solution to VR simulator sickness, though we’re not so sure.
The company this month unveiled the final prototype of what it calls the VR Chair, which isn’t really a chair at all. It’s more like a support that the user leans into, complete with armrests that house buttons for controlling games. More importantly, though, you can apply force to the armrests to move your virtual body forward and backward in any given VR game. The company says that this method of movement creates a much more natural sensation for your brain, eliminating motion sickness.
There’s also slight rotation based on the direction the user is looking to give the sensation of turning. Check the chair out in the video below.
While the VR Chair certainly does seem like it could combat motion sickness to some degree (we haven’t tried it out for ourselves), we do have some reservations about the design. Firstly, the static armrests seem to take away true hand-control in VR, meaning you’re essentially sacrificing one major (and often mandatory) component of many VR experiences for this potential solution. The chair does allow you to put the rests to one aside and use motion controllers with the rotation mechanic, but then you’re losing the motion sickness reducing element that you’d buy it for in the first place.
Not to mention that the chair is recognized as a standard gamepad like an Xbox controller, which many VR games don’t support. Tellingly the video only uses footage from Psytec Games’ Windlands and Croteam’s Serious Sam VR ports, all of which include traditional gamepad support. Cambrian does say you could use one armrest for movement and one hand for motion control, but do you know many gamepad-supporting VR games that allow you to play with one motion controller and had of another pad? Whatsmore, do you have space for a gaming peripheral roughly the side of an exercise bike in your home?
The chair is at least meant to support Rift, Vive, Windows VR and PSVR and we could see it having better use on the latter device, where gamepad-only titles like Resident Evil 7 and The Persistence could be enhanced.
Cambrian hasn’t detailed a wider rollout for the VR Chair, including details like price, just yet.