Disney’s HoloTile Floor Lets You Move Around Freely in VR

Disney working on an omnidirectional VR treadmill
In Short
  • Disney's Lanny Smoot introduced a new omnidirectional VR treadmill called HoloTile Floor.
  • This treadmill allows multiple VR users to freely walk without worrying about colliding with real-life objects or each other.
  • Smoot also talks about this being a multipurpose piece of tech, coming in handy for stage performances and VR experiences alike.

If you have watched the last Johnny English movie, you probably know where this is going. Disney is now working with Imagineer Lanny Smoot to introduce an omnidirectional VR treadmill that works exactly as was shown in the movie. A single (or multiple) VR user will be able to freely move around in any direction they want without colliding with each other or real-life objects.

Not being able to freely move around has always been a major issue for VR users. Of course, you could always use the joystick or teleportation to move around. But, it certainly won’t be nearly as immersive. However, with what Smoot is calling the “HoloTile Floor,” this won’t be a problem anymore.

Still from Disney HoloTile Floor Demo Video (L) and VR tech scene from Johnny English Strikes Again (R)

The information was revealed via an insightful video posted on the official Disney Parks YouTube channel. This video was rolled out to celebrate Lanny Smoot making history as the first Disney Imagineer to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Most importantly, he is the second individual to be inducted from the Walt Disney Company, with Walt Disney himself being the first. This was a huge moment for Smoot, and from the video, we got an insight into the kind of work he does and has been doing for Disney.

From the popular retracting light-saber to electromagnetic eyes tech for animatronics, he talked about a lot of his key inventions. Finally, he talked about the current HoloTile Floor project he is working on. Additionally, he went ahead and gave a demo as well, showing us exactly how this thing works.

Now, there have been omnidirectional treadmills in the past. But, the way Disney’s HoloTile Floor simulates walking is like no other we have seen. Moreover, it is not just meant to serve one purpose, as Smoot says. He talks about the different possibilities that this very product could unlock.

He gave the example of theatrical stages using this VR treadmill to aid its performers in making the most of their acts. In addition, he also talked about how multiple people could “collaboratively” be in the same room and enjoy VR experiences. Not to mention, without running into each other in the real world.

From the looks of it, this could be an absolute game-changer for VR users. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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