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Real, Virtual Reality Roller Shoes ... Huh?

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

The "powered shoes" are virtual reality assistants that were developed by Hiroo Iwata, Hiroshi Tomioka and Hiroaki Yano in Japan. The shoes—or hippie sandals as they appear—have motorized rollers built into the base. As you take steps, a computer strapped to your back will make the rollers on the bottom of the sandals roll the opposite direction canceling out your steps. So it is like really walking in place or being on a mobile treadmill. Get it?

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The fun doesn't end there. The computer is also connected to a virtual reality helmet worn by the participant. So little to no room is needed to truly experience a virtual reality world where you can walk around anywhere. It is obvious that the virtual reality doesn't offer fashion tips, though. Socks with sandals? Bleh! The powered shoes will be on display at SIGGRAPH 2006 in Boston later this month. Check out the video here.

Powered shoes — perfect for a virtual stroll [NewScientistTech]

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DISCUSSION

Even since I started playing Second Life, I have dreaming about these shoes as a way to walk across the room to have cyber-sex.