Vitruvian VR: a loopy and enjoyable machine for flying in digital actuality

Right now is the day that I publish a submit that (due to my work) I’ve postponed for an excessive amount of time: my hands-on with Vitruvian VR, one of many funniest VR machines I’ve tried within the final months.

Vitruvian VR

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Me, fortunately making an attempt Vitruvian VR at AWE Europe in Lisbon

Vitruvian VR is an Italian startup whose mission is to construct a machine that may make the person transfer within the air, as if he’s flying, whereas immersed in digital actuality. The title comes from the well-known Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci: the pose that the person has inside the massive circle of the machine resembles the one of many well-known portray by Leonardo.

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Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. The pose of this man is just like the one held by the customers of Vitruvian VR (Picture by Luc Viatour /

Vitruvian goals at offering full 360 levels of physique rotation on all axes with no gimbal lock. The person can so rotate his full physique in all instructions as if he was flying freely within the sky. The machine to supply it’s in fact fairly huge, so it isn’t meant as home {hardware}, however for installations for enterprise use (e.g. for the coaching of astronauts) or for out-of-home leisure (e.g. flight simulation in VR arcades).

Since with this product the person can rotate his personal physique to align it with the route he’s flying in digital actuality, when flying with it, the movement illness is theoretically zeroed.

At present, Vitruvian continues to be in its prototypical model, and the group is engaged on the primary model that solves among the present points and realizes the imaginative and prescient of the group. In the mean time, they’re searching for extra funds, companions, and clients.

Fingers-on Vitruvian VR

I do know the Vitruvian individuals since a number of years in the past (we’re each determined VR Italian individuals :P), however I’ve been capable of strive their gadget solely at AWE EU in Lisbon on the finish of 2022. At AWE Vitruvian was one of many principal points of interest, and it bought totally booked fairly quick. It was so successful that it even received an Auggie Award on the last ceremony!


Prepared for the battle!

The large machine of Vitruvian is principally an enormous gyroscope. If we ignore the mechanical technical particulars, we are able to say that it’s an enormous circle that rotates in all instructions, and also you rotate with it.

The very first thing I needed to do when arrived on the sales space, was to be secured to this “huge circle”: the Vitruvian group made positive to lock my ft to the bottom of the circle and my torso to a again relaxation that was put in on it. I needed to be secured nicely as a result of the circle might be rotated in each potential route, so the group needed to make sure that nonetheless I moved, I couldn’t fall down from the machine.

In spite of everything the security measures had been taken and I had been secured to the massive circle like a pilot of a jet, I may lastly put my arms on the 2 joysticks that have been in entrance of me: one for the left and the opposite for the correct hand. The group defined to me that the correct one was for use to rotate the massive gyroscope across the vertical axis (rotate left/proper) whereas the left one was to rotate across the horizontal axis (lean up/down). Then they placed on me a VR headset, which was an outdated HP Home windows Blended Actuality gadget. Giovanni, the CCO of the corporate, jokingly mentioned that he was sorry that I needed to put on such an outdated headset. I answered that it didn’t matter… making an attempt an outdated {hardware} would have made me really feel a bit youthful than I used to be. I knew that what I used to be making an attempt was a prototype, so I didn’t care a lot in regards to the particulars.

After I used to be able to go, I needed to anticipate the group to begin the expertise, launching earlier than the Home windows Blended Actuality ecosystem after which the Unity software of the demo. Vitruvian had at the moment two demos obtainable: one with Area Engine, to let the customers fly across the outer area, after which somewhat sport about paragliding that was produced internally. The demo I attempted was the sport one.


I really like loopy VR {hardware}, so on the Vitruvian, I felt like a child making an attempt its new shiny toy. In order quickly as I used to be in it, the demo began, and the group advised me I may go, the very first thing I did was to push the left set off instantly to the max, till the gyroscope put me utterly the wrong way up.

I’m happening down down…

Unluckily I don’t have an image of this epic second, however I used to be with my head down and my foot in direction of the ceiling. Let’s see that I carried out an excellent check of all the security belts they used on me (however I’m nonetheless alive, so that they labored). Being utterly upside-down, my physique began feeling discomfort, like sturdy nausea. Fortunately that day I didn’t have a giant breakfast. And likewise the system bought a bit loopy: initially, the sport grew to become unplayable, then the display screen grew to become all black. Mainly, I broke the system in a number of seconds, but it surely was so enjoyable, and I’d 100% do it once more. My pals at Vitruvian advised me that I’m utterly loopy and the demo was anticipating individuals to get a bit used to controls earlier than making an attempt extra excessive stuff. Anyway, they loved my craziness, too.

After the sport was restarted, I began enjoying it with out making an attempt to interrupt the whole lot. The demo was about paragliding down a mountain and flying down making an attempt to get by way of some hoops following a path within the air that lead me to the valley. It was a really fundamental demo. At first, I had some critical difficulties in enjoying it, however then after I bought used to the system, I used to be significantly better at flying.

Having fun with my descent within the sport. I beloved being with my head towards the ground… I suppose my mission in VR is making an attempt to puke in each potential approach…

The explanations for my preliminary difficulties got by the prototypical nature of the system. Specifically, the massive downside was that the joysticks labored not in an analog approach, however in an on/off trend. This meant that as an illustration, the up/down joystick both made the system go up at a sure velocity when pushed ahead, or down at a sure velocity when pushed backward, or nonetheless if it was round its heart. There was no velocity increment, the angular velocity was both zero or a sure worth, so there was no superb management of the actions. Utilizing the joysticks of their common approach was unattainable as a result of I couldn’t calibrate the angular velocity. One of the simplest ways of shifting, as quickly as I understood it, was to offer brief bursts of motion in a specific route and alter the route of flight with these little discretized actions within the horizontal and vertical instructions to tune the place I used to be going in direction of.

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Discover that the system strikes with some delay with regard to my joystick actions

After I began shifting this fashion, I began to play higher. However I discovered one other downside: the motion of the machine all the time began with a slight delay after my motion of the joystick. Moreover, when every small burst of motion given by me completed, the machine stopped abruptly, and there was a recoil second when the gyro circle oscillated a bit.

Let’s say it has not been the smoothest approach of shifting I’ve ever tried in VR, and for positive it was not one thing individuals ought to strive if they’ve a weak abdomen. If you need to strive it, I warn you that it may be an intense expertise: it’s true that you just don’t really feel “movement illness”, however, particularly in the event you attempt to transfer quick like me, you might really feel discomfort from the abrupt actions of the machine.

Add to it the truth that the mechanic of rotating round one axis with one hand and across the different axis with the opposite hand is just not essentially the most intuitive one to make use of in VR… many instances I attempted to make use of the flawed hand to carry out a selected rotation I needed to have.

However however the clunkiness of the prototype, the simplicity of the demo, and the illness, I had a number of enjoyable making an attempt it. It was nice for me to strive one thing new within the VR area, and was enjoyable having the ability to fly in VR with my complete physique, and even strive excessive maneuvers like going completely upside-down. Feeling the machine rotating my physique in all instructions was superb, particularly for somebody like me that loves hardcore VR experiences. I clearly understood the worth of blending this machine with a flying sport.

Closing Impressions

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To the sky and past

I’m a giant fan of Vitruvian VR. It’s presently a prototype, and as it’s typical of a mission in that state, it has a number of issues. However it made me strive one thing cool and modern in VR, and I may spot its potential in making individuals fly in digital actuality. I can see some makes use of in some particular coaching industries (e.g. aerospace) and likewise some potential makes use of in arcades, particularly for hardcore VR avid gamers that don’t undergo from movement illness. It’s not a machine meant for the mass market, however one that may work in some particular use instances.

However the corporate has nonetheless to show its actual worth by delivering its last product. The prototype is nice to showcase the imaginative and prescient, however we have to see if the actual product is ready to fulfill its guarantees. I hope they’ll discover extra funds and companions to make it occur… and I can’t wait to interrupt additionally the brand new model with some loopy maneuvers!

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