The system is driven by two HEIDENHAIN rotary encoders. (Photo: HEIDENHAIN)

Infinadeck’s omni-directional treadmill debuted in 2018 when it provided Warner Brothers Studios with its prototype omni-directional virtual reality (VR) treadmill for the Steven Spielberg movie “Ready Player One.”

Allowing the user to walk in any direction on a deck atop a stationery platform, the Infinadeck has since begun making its way into many other VR applications, each supported by two HEIDENHAIN rotary encoders as critical internal motion control components. Built on patented technology, the Infinadeck features 360-degrees locomotion and VR immersion.

When discussing the technology behind this treadmill, Infinadeck’s COO Benjamin Freeman explained, “Infinadeck’s patented technology includes a system of over 5,000 parts including one continuous 400-foot belt that serpentines throughout the system. The other mechanical parts consist of bearings, molded plastic parts, aluminum extrusions, and machined parts.

The motion control is based on an X, Y coordinate system. Infinadeck’s X-axis consists of various bridges and the Y-axis uses the continuous belt. The system is driven by SANYO DENKI controls and motors, as well as two HEIDENHAIN rotary encoders on the motors and on the walking surface to tell the system exactly how the surface is moving. “The Infinadeck uses two HEIDENHAIN absolute ECI 1118 encoders in its fully closed-loop system,” said Freeman. “These are important because they help control the system’s X and Y movements as the encoders provide the system position feedback on each axis.”

Infinadeck features true 360-degrees locomotion and true VR immersion. (Photo: Infinadeck)

According to Freeman, Infinadeck’s control loop software manages the calculations for the user position and speed allowing him/her to naturally walk in any direction. “That all has to happen in milliseconds,” he said. “Those conversions were really challenging and we were happy to accomplish. When this treadmill is coupled with a VR headset, it really transforms the VR experience.”

Infinadeck has already made its way into some healthcare applications, such as for Khymeia’s “Moonwalker” for VR in neurological rehab medicine and cites (on their website) other industries using it. Some of those include VR in defense and government, training, research and education, as well as fitness and gaming.

“Our system wouldn’t work without this closed loop system, and we are pleased with how HEIDENHAIN has supported our motion control efforts,” added Freeman.

This article was contributed by HEIDENHAIN Corp. (Schaumburg, IL). For more information, visit here .