we are in CES 2023 In Las Vegas, now that virtual reality is getting closer to the mainstream, we’re seeing a lot of accessories to help gamers enjoy the so-called “metaverse”. Shiftall is a VR accessory and hardware maker that has solved some interesting problems for users who want to have a serious time in VR, like how do you keep yourself hydrated without dropping the virtual ball? Or how do you keep your virtual reality sessions private if you can’t see around you to listen?
Shiftall’s FlipVR controller is based on the Lighthouse technology used with VR headsets such as LED indicator and the HTC Vive Pro 2. Lighthouse trackers are modular systems, and Shiftall has come up with a unique way to attach a Lighthouse tracker to a portable controller that flips away when you want to use your opposite thumb.
With a flick of your wrist, the controller flips over, and you can grab a water bottle, or start typing on the keyboard. Flip the controller back over for quick access to the joystick and buttons.
We got a chance to watch a Shiftall expert navigate hyperspace while flipping a water bottle from one hand to the other. Honestly, the contraption seemed a bit overwrought, and there’s a lot of gear to swing around.
But it also looks fun – and with some practice, the dance of engaging controls and flipping to sip coffee can add an interesting new level of interactivity, if it works well. There is a distinct nunchaku element to the gear, though, and we might be concerned about collateral damage.
Shiftall Mutalk makes your speaking voice whisper
In addition to the FlipVR controller, Shiftall has an interesting new microphone for VR users that can ensure greater privacy in the virtual space. The Mutalk microphone attaches to your head, and it looks like a VR headset to your mouth. There are no cameras inside, only a microphone that connects via Bluetooth. The purpose of this is to keep your voice trapped inside so that no one can hear you.
It actually works so well demo artist Shiftall was effectively muffled as he strapped a Mutalk mic to his face as he yelled at the crowd. Shiftall says the Mutalk microphone dampens the sound of your voice by -30dB to strangers; This is the difference between a whisper and a soft voice.
If you’ve used VR, you’ve probably felt nervous about what’s happening in the real world outside of your virtual world. Wondering if someone will sneak up on you, or listen in on your virtual conversations, is a real concern for gamers.
The Mutalk is a bit big and flashy-looking, but it solves an interesting problem. At present, there are not many popular social applications in virtual reality to meet with friends, but as these applications become more and more popular, the privacy microphone can help users open up more and enjoy the virtual world more freely.
In fact, the Mutalk microphone works with your phone as well as your VR headset — so if you’re looking for a more private solution to holding conversations, and don’t mind strapping a little VR-like mount to your face while chatting, you can pick up a Mutalk headset to use when chatting on the phone.
These devices are still under development so pricing and availability are yet to be announced. Keep checking back for the latest updates on the cool virtual reality gear we’re seeing at CES 2023 in Las Vegas.
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