Microsoft has published (via WalkingCat) two virtual reality-related patents that look to innovate the way users move in imaginary space. The first, a ‘Virtual Reality Floor Mat Active Region' was filed on February 4th, 2018 and published yesterday. It's essentially what it sounds like: a user places a physical mat on the floor to easily determine how far they can move without bumping into objects. This something users have traditionally had to set up themselves. The mat may contain ‘fiducial markers' for headsets that use inside-out tracking (cameras on the headset) for movement. However, it gets more interesting. In some variations of the device, the mat is littered with pressure sensors. As a result, inside-out tracking could pair with pressure on the mat to accurately determine where the user is. The device could additionally contain vibration motors so users can get physical feedback from their actions. This could be when they near the edge of the play area, for example, or even when they step on checkpoints or traps in a game. An interior region of the mat would additionally have a different surface to its border to further warn users. It's an intriguing idea, to say the least. It's somewhat similar to ProxiMat, a device that promises ‘touch and visual' feedback when a user near the edge. Microsoft's mat appears to be bigger, however, and multi-featured.
Microsoft’s Latest VR Patents Include a Pressure Sensitive Play Mat and Improved Input Device
Microsoft's VR mat would contain vibration motors and pressure sensors, potentially warning users when they were reaching its edge and providing a higher degree of location accuracy.