By Paula Rothman
For BU News Service
LAS VEGAS — You are walking on the beach, with soft sand beneath the soles of your feet.
Now you are in an ice rink, moving carefully as you sense the ice underneath you crack under your weight.
Suddenly, you’re standing on a soccer field. You run over the soft grass, find the ball and kick it as hard as you can, your toe feeling the pressure as you push the ball straight into the goal.
It sounds like a vivid dream, but this is the reality created by Cerevo, a Japanese company that showcased its VR shoes at CES this Tuesday night.
VR, or virtual reality, is a growing field that explores the interaction between real world and digital space. Wearing special goggles, users can immerse themselves into any reality — a desert, a stadium, the inside of the human body. Now, with the upcoming launches of several VR-ready video games, companies are also looking into ways of implementing the virtual experience by adding a touch of realism to other sensations.
Cervero’s Taclim VR shoes are meant to do precisely that. They look like bulky sandals and come with three motors that vibrate in three different locations — the heel, the ball of the foot and above the toes — according to the terrain you are walking on or the activities you are engaged in. “There could be many applications, but we designed it with video games in mind,” says Takuma Inasa, founder and CEO of Cerevo.
A software engineer himself, Inasa worked for many years at Panasonic before he decided to leave in 2007 to start his own company in Tokyo. Cervero’s Taclim VR shoes are only one product of their portfolio, which includes a toy gun for VR-based first-person shooter games. Their products will be available in the US this fall. The Taclim shoes are expected to cost between $1,000-1,500.