Safety and comfort is a major concern for the team at feelthree and something that we’re always mindful of in our designs. The design is inherently safe since all of the moving parts are shielded from the user but there are still a few issues to consider, especially for spectators.
However one of the primary concerns is protecting the user inside who might be concerned to sit inside a free spinning motorised sphere.
The movement should never be so excessive that the user is unable to reach an easily accessible stop switch from inside the sphere. This would be permanently ‘on’ and also wired so it would release on excessive rotation. The software would always be aware of this rotation but this provides a fail safe backup.
Each corner of the base also has a physical barrier which prevents the lip of sphere from passing this point and flipping the sphere. The corners also have stop switches on a separate circuit, so if the sphere exceeds it’s predicted rotation all power is cut to the motors.
So the user inside may be safe but what about people outside? If you have curious children its difficult to see them from inside virtual reality. So we’ll be working on a couple of options to prevent any possible trapped fingers either by creating a sensor circuit between the base and sphere that detects when both are touched together or a capacitive sensor that can tell when someone else touches the sphere. This will either trigger an alarm, stop any rotation or shut down the sphere.
We hope users will be able to enjoy the feelthree with their kids (and we might develop a ‘tandem seat’ for this purpose) but as usual, adult supervision of your children is always the best policy.