Ride a skateboard in virtual reality, don’t break a leg

When I was younger, I (like many others) learned to skateboard – a skill that never really became the second nature it needs to be if you want to do anything other than roll around the place.

That didn’t stop me trying to do stupid things, of course. That’s what kids do.

Now, however, we’re getting closer to a future where riding a skateboard might not come at the potential cost of use of a limb thanks to a student at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

In the video above, you can see a BBC reporter checking out the distinctly homemade looking rig.

It gives vibration feedback by using low frequency speakers, and the team behind it took the time to record the different sounds of a skateboard passing over different surfaces, which is what the vibration is based on. Unsurprisingly, it uses an Oculus unit as the headset.

To make the experience more authentic than just rolling around a virtual arena, you need to propel yourself by pushing off the mini treadmill alongside. And given how disorienting the whole experience is, there’s also a pole on the other side to grab onto when you inevitably lose your balance.

At least once a more finished version of the tech arrives, you won’t have to make an embarrassing call to your work’s HR department to explain that you can’t make it into the office because you were larking around on a skateboard all weekend.

➤ Riding a skateboard in virtual reality [BBC]

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