Prof. Dr. Patrick Baudisch

Level-Ups: Motorized Stilts that Simulate Stair Steps in Virtual Reality

“Level-Ups” are computer-controlled stilts that allow virtual reality users to experience elevation in real-walking environment. Each Level-Up unit is a self-contained device worn like a boot. Its main functional element is a vertical actuation mechanism, so called lift-table.

System Integration

The below figure shows the VR environment we created to test our Level-Up devices. The user is wearing a headmounted display (Oculus Rift) and is tracked using an optical motion capture system (OptiTrack). A MacBook Pro in the user’s backpack (carried on the front) runs the VR game engine. There are no wired connections to or from the user, allowing the user to walk around freely. During operation, the motion capture system’s tracking software (Arena) sends position data to the game engine via UDP, which in turn sends commands to the Level-Up units via Bluetooth. A simple program running inside of the game engine determines where the user’s next step in the virtual world is expected to come down. By casting a ray downwards at this location, our program determines the height of the terrain, which it sends to the Level-Up units.

CHI2015 talk


Dominik Schmidt, Robert Kovacs, Vikram Mehta, Udayan Umapathi, Sven Köhler, Lung-Pan Cheng, Patrick Baudisch:

Level-Ups: Motorized Stilts that Simulate Stair Steps in Virtual Reality

In Proceedings of CHI 2015.

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Media coverage: IDG newsRoad to VR