Indoor, Outdoor & Kids' Trampolines

The Infinadeck Omnidirectional Treadmill – Smarter Every Day 192 (VR Series)

Hey, it’s me, Destin. Welcome back to Smarter Every Day. A treadmill is a pretty simple device, right? You set the speed you want; you get on, you start moving. But you don’t actually go anywhere. This technology people have realized for a really long time is perfect for virtual reality Because you could walk somewhere and actually use your body but not leave the confines of your own home Okay here we are in California. We are at a company called Infinadeck. This is a small engineering outfit These guys make a 360 degree treadmill the one that’s in the movie ready player one so the interesting thing is they’re really small company But they’ve got a really cool idea, so let’s go check out how this thing works. All right, so this is George, and he owns Infinadeck right? Yeah All right And basically Infinadeck is a 360 degree treadmill technique. That is Is it safe to say that we’ve got treadmills on top of treadmills here? It’s a treadmill made of treadmills Okay. Treadmill made of treadmills So you can think of it as you’ve got one axis of rotation here and each individual Treadmill can move in this direction as well, right? Yeah So how do you ? So it’s a combination right obviously if you want to go X. This is our X direction. This is our Y X is nothing, but a treadmill you know like any other treadmill the Y it’s nothing, but the smaller treadmills right now we’re using the Vive tracker on you Right, so where is the, there they are right there. So your tracker’s on your rear We kind of artificially take you about seven or eight inches in front of that to get the middle of your CG And this tries to keep that middle of the CG in the middle of the treadmill right there. Oh I got you. So the, so the feedb- that was one of my main questions is what is the feedback loop? It’s a positional feedback loop. Yeah, it’s fairly simple right now. We’re making it better this that’s the part We’re gonna just keep improving for ever, years and years and years really? so the goal so you have an object and then Oh, I get it. It’s this is, this is called They’re very visual This is a semi autonomous command position sensor. That’s the best Specific way to say that, right? Now what we’re also doing on this one is You put foot trackers on when you combine the foot trackers the headset and your and your hand controllers You now have six different Points that is tracked on you, and that’s enough for us to give you an avatar George Jr told me if I screwed this little VR tracker into the bottom of the camera We can insert that camera into the virtual world Which of course we had to do So we’re ready? Yeah So I just I just get in? Yeah go ahead, so Alright Let me help you a little Okay? So first let’s do your feet Alright This is the CG you’re gonna put that on. Make the tracker meet like directly behind your back Okay So go on, put your headset This feels like I’m actually getting in the Oasis here Oh wow I can see the camera, in the virtual world If you look towards me you should see the two controllers? What the heck man! So we’re gonna have you do now Okay, okay. I’m trying to. This is just normal VR. So I can actually see the ring now That’s something I didn’t expect, so I can, it’s there Yeah Alright so now that’s I see my body too – what’s up with my body So we’re gonna sync that with you. So if I can have you stand with your legs straight down, and your arms straight out to your sides, like a T-pose? Three two one Did it work? Oh I can see my body! Wow Alright Okay, that’s rad. That’s really rad. Okay, gotcha so So right now you’re tracking the position of my hands and my feet Dude that is messed up! This – I’d like him – Alright So I can see the camera, the tic-tac there, but what’s more important is I can also see this ring And Griffin why did you say you have this ring in here? So this is there to kind of lock you down in the real world without being too much of a burden to say So this is like you know when you do an integral you get the plus C at the end So this is a boundary condition for me to kind of lock my brain into both worlds so this is like this tells me where I’m at virtually and Like actual my body, right? Absolutely Okay so, are you ready to start walking? I’m ready to start walking We’re gonna recommend you have your hands on the range when you first try this just so you get used to That’s okay, so when you start. Yeah. I thought it would make sense for you for it to put me in the center, okay So now right? What is trying to do is this trying to keep the CG of my back in the center of the ring, right? So I’m gonna touch this and as I walk Okay, it takes just okay. I’m there. Okay. I don’t want to hit that tree So I’m gonna turn this way Okay So I can’t really tell if I’m walking 90 degrees or not Okay, so there’s inertia in the rollers, okay? I thought there might be. So if I move backwards It’s gonna keep me there I move forwards So it takes just a second Just a couple seconds on the Infinadeck, and I instantly understood the problems that these guys have to overcome It’s pretty interesting It seems pretty simple: whatever direction a person walks, the Infinadeck moves in the opposite direction, whether it be X or Y, at the exact same velocity and acceleration. Think about a normal treadmill: your brain is doing all the processing. Your brain is constantly Solving the equation a treadmill velocity plus body velocity equals zero if at any point You don’t solve that equation correctly you start moving relative to the treadmill. This is a very similar problem, but it’s much harder It’s harder because there’s two dimensions That’s the obvious one But it’s also harder because the processing isn’t happening in your brain. That processing is offloaded to the Infinadeck which, oh by the way, can’t read your mind. There’s a delay time for the Infinadeck to figure out where your position is and try to change that… Yeah. Yes. …and if it tries to do it too quickly you know you can have an overdamped and under damped system is that correct? Yeah. Is that the right terminology? So, yeah So at the moment what we’re currently doing we’re trying to make it so that the acceleration on the user in any way that they’re not really tried experience is never more than 0.1 Gs got it Oh that seems to be about a good amount to not really be, you know disturbing for the user. Okay. We’re trying to figure out where exactly that isn’t how to do that if I walk forward I’m gonna feel an acceleration in one direction on my body because I’m pushing against the floor, right but then the floor is gonna move, and it’s gonna move my body in the opposite direction, so I’m going to feel an acceleration that’s negative, which is strange for, you know, a normal walking around human. Then, once I hit a steady state velocity, I’m gonna level out that acceleration in my mouth. My body’s gonna be cool with it right, but the moment I stop That’s a change in velocity and the Infinadeck has to accommodate for that. It has to move you back to the center gracefully and one thing that happens is if it tries to move you back too fast It’ll overshoot, and then it has to correct. So this is a really interesting engineering problem because it doesn’t have perfect knowledge of intent. Like, that that’s the difference with your brain you have intent and so when you’re walking in a normal treadmill you get to choose everything, right? but you have to understand over the last few years we had to, you know, build and modify the Infinadeck too along with the control system, and there’s only a few of us, so. Well. It’s been challenging all around. This is why the problem is interesting because when you’re walking in the world Right now my acceleration is zero And then when I stop I’m used to imparting acceleration to my body But that doesn’t happen till later Yes, it’s a work in progress how far you go back. It’s That’s clever. That’s it’s a challenge. That’s a that’s a hard math problem one thing I thought was really cool is you can use this to be a different size in the virtual world just by changing a Constant right you can scale How many steps it takes to get around in the earth? Just by a scale factor, but literally a scaler, that’s often. Oh, there’s the same boat look at that It’s a dude. It’s like I want to jump I’m just Too small to get it Too small to go to my boat and *laughs* That’s fun. That’s really fun that the model… There’s my bench. Look behind you, there’s my bench before In engineering we have these assignments called technology readiness levels There’s nine of them, and I would say this is somewhere between a six and a seven Which means there’s a working prototype that works, and they’re just refining the subsystems they’re about to go to production So it’s really cool to be able to walk on This Infinadeck before it goes out into mainstream production and see the behind the scenes engineering things they’re having to solve. It’s really interesting. So, it’s clear George knows all this I mean he instantly understands all the variables I asked him about That how tall the person was like if you think about it your center of mass is at a different length and so that moment arm is different you have to deal with inertia differently like from the bottom of it. It’s really interesting anyway This is me talking to George and you can tell he totally gets it. I I can imagine that the the inertia Overcoming that inertia is different for each person because if I’m 175 pounds and I move here It takes a certain amount of torque I’ll cut the deck off now. It takes a certain amount of torque for these motors to move me and That’s going to change based on the size of the person, is that correct? That’s correct that. It’s more about your acceleration than the inertia. The the deck is capable of moving a lot faster than you can move. So so we could pull your feet out from under you if we ever, you know, had it set to do so. So all the algorithms stuff will will have more to do with other variables, like your CG, CG imbalance. And there’s a moment arm between the distance from my feet to where my CG is, right? So, so the acceleration that you put there, there’s gonna be this lag time in my brain where I try to counteract that, is that correct? Very much. All right, this is the part of video where I tell you about the sponsor and, you know, a lot of people fast-forward through this part, but you know this is the important part because we wouldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t have listened to Ready Player One on Audible. I’m not gonna tell you about ready player one. You know that’s old news at this point, I’m gonna tell you about the new book that I’m listening to. The sponsor is Audible you can get a free book by going to or texting the word “smarter” to 500-500 The new book that I’m listening to is called “Twelve Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson, “an Antidote for Chaos.” Now, I’m listening to this book because I heard some podcast with the author. There’s a lot of people talking about this book I wanted to check it out because he doesn’t believe things that I believe in fact he takes a third party-like perspective look at some of the things I believe and so that helps me get outside myself and grow a little bit So I really enjoy it. If you’re not listening to audiobooks, you really should be. You’re smart people; you know this part is a big deal for me, and I know this part can be a big deal for you, because audiobooks literally have changed my life. So,, that’s how you can support Smarter Every Day, or text the word “smarter” to 500-500. Thank you for considering that. Last thing. I wanna say thanks to the guys at Infinadeck. A treadmill made of treadmills, that is insane. You’re there man, this is just a control systems problem at this point, isn’t it? We just need some control engineers. We ought to hire a couple. That’s what this is at this point. At this point, it’s just computer stuff and math so this is doable I hope you enjoyed this video enough to subscribe. If you do there’s a little bell beside the subscription button. If you haven’t enjoyed it enough to hit the bell to get a notification on your phone every time I upload, then don’t. That’s completely okay. Anyway, I’m Destin. You’re getting Smarter Every Day. Have a good one. Thanks for learning with me You’re gonna fall. You fell. You jumped. Whatever. What are you doin’? Why you makin’ noise?

Reader Comments

  1. What if, instead of the simulation trying to keep the player in the exact middle, why not keep the player in exact middle with real world components that strap onto the player and runs on a track that follows rotation? Much like the Virtuix Omni system. That way inertia can be excluded from the computing system and only track the sensors for velocity and positioning… just saying lol

  2. Put a cat on it, hold a bowl of cat food in front of it and see how long it takes for the cat to figure out that it can't reach its lunch

  3. Curious if they worked inertia into the equation if they could use that data to predict the stop velocity of any given individual using a calibration algorithm. In other words, the treadmill can tell you're decelerating by equating in and comparing previous to current speeds to create an algorithm that will match any person using the equipment. Maybe even add two more sensors to the knee-caps to give a comparison of limb angles along with calibrated movement prediction algorithms. Not sure how much that would help. That could create a whole other layer of complications to work out. Although, big risks reap big reward. Could be worth looking into.

  4. With that amount of motors and moving parts it'll always be very big, heavy and prone to failure, I can't see this a consumer product and I wouldn't be so sure about solving the delay between player and treadmill since a very responsive carpet would need fast accelerations but there will always need to be hard coded limits for safety reasons.
    I think moving the machine around the player is not the right solution, circular platforms with slippery floor and shoes are lighter, require less materials and will always be safer than this thing. Nonetheless they made an amazing job and who knows, maybe they'll fine a niche to dominate.

  5. my best idea is having boots or shoes that got the treadmill in itself but 1st they must find a way to make less delay like a how mouse work with optical sensors and buttons

  6. These guys are onto something but why not a giant mouse ball? Like an overturned mouse with a harness to stop you falling as opposed to a ring?

  7. It tries to move your CG by moving your feet… when CG is located higher, around our hips.
    Smaller you will be, more your CG will be "connected to your feet" and so the Infinadeck.

  8. The fascinating point by this channel is, that when you look from time to time in the comments…
    Because the people watching and writing down here, are literally "getting smarter every day"…

    (Most of them… 😉)

  9. At a private party 20 years ago the host had 8 people at a time get into a boat on hydraulics, put on headsets and Demonstrated a fantastic variety of rich environments. Needless to say we all thought this would be common in the next few years. 20 years had been a long wait.

  10. I think they're beating a dead horse. The design is both impractical, and imperfect. I believe if they continue on with their current design, by the time they "perfect" it, there will already be completely new and superior technologies for walk tracing in VR.

  11. the over/under damped feedback loop sounds like they could apply motion capture data sampling data to help the infinadeck to machine learn human patterns of movement to become more and more predictive, ultimately to a point that the feedback loop becomes small enough that the end-user feels as if the treadmill is reading your mind

  12. I feel like you could put a weight system in and when it feels weight coming up it moves back so there’s no problem with going back as soon as someone starts walking

  13. Presumablly they've already looked in to this and decided it's a bad idea but the obvious solution to me is a curved surface so gravity will pull you back to the center. Wouldn't even need to be powered, just track the movement.

  14. I have thought of a couple of simple alternatives to treadmill solutions.
    1) A very slippery surface + special slippery shoes while your hips are locked in place using a similar ring around the waist.
    2) Locked hips( allow crouching…z movement perhaps ) + shoes with wheels( roller blades basically ) that track the movement.
    You would end up running on 1 place and it would be a very cheap and easy system.

  15. I think you can improve this treadmill by scanning the subconcous of the brain, because there you can know what a human does, before the human does it.

  16. Why not make a metal bowl that’s big that hard to get friction at and u use socks like that it has no friction and then the bowl reads where u walk

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