Schmidt, D., Kovacs, R., Mehta, V., Umapathi, U., Köhler, S., Cheng, L.P. and Baudisch, P., 2015, April. Level-ups: Motorized stilts that simulate stair steps in virtual reality. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2157-2160). ACM.
We present “Level-Ups”, computer-controlled stilts that allow virtual reality users to experience walking up and down steps. Each Level-Up unit is a self-contained device worn like a boot. Its main functional element is a vertical actuation mechanism mounted to the bottom of the boot that extends vertically. Unlike traditional solutions that are integrated with locomotion devices, Level-Ups allow users to walk around freely (“real-walking”). We present Level-Ups in a demo environment based on a head-mounted display, optical motion capture, and integrated with two different game engines. In a user study, participants rated the realism of stepping onto objects 6.0 out of 7.0 when wearing Level-Ups compared to 3.5 without.

Prototypes built

An iterative process of brainstroming, physical prototyping and feedback was followed. Various prototypes were developed including: paper, telescopic-pipe-based, stilts-based, swissboy-based and combinations.
Telescopic Construction
Stilts with Gas Springs / Linear Actuators
Boots with Scissors Platform


File size: 2.07 MB


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