Pilot Production Of Roto VR Motorized Chair Underway

Roto VR is approaching the home stretch in the development of its motorized Roto VR Chair. The company recently started updating its blog with progress updates, and today it sent notice to subscribers letting them know that production is about to start.

We first discovered Roto VR, and it’s motorized, VR locomotion-tackling chair in May 2016 when the company opened pre-orders for the setup and claimed that the hardware would ship in July. At the time, Roto VR showed a concept video and renders, but there were no images of the real hardware.

The lack of real photographs should have been an indication that Roto VR wouldn’t be able to fulfill its ambitious July shipping goal. July came and went with nary a peep from the company. In October, Roto VR released a handful of images and a video clip of a pre production Roto VR Chair in action. The company’s founder, Elliot Myers, told us that the production model would be ready in time to ship in January.

Evidently, Roto VR underestimated the challenges it would face in producing a complex product such as the Roto VR Chair. Months followed without any significant news from Roto VR. The motorized chair was beginning to look a lot like vaporware, and we weren’t holding our breath for its release.

As it turns out, though, our concerns of Roto VR’s vaporware fate were overblown. The company has signed off on the final production model Roto VR Chair and its packaging, and the company is now in the pilot production phase. Over the next few weeks, Roto VR will assess the production process to weed out any issues. The company expects to approve the production line by the end of September. It also plans to keep people apprised of new developments with frequent updates to the Roto VR news blog.

Despite the setback in production time, Roto VR appears to have delivered on almost all of its promises. The Roto VR Chair includes the motorized base with the head tracking sensors that allow the chair to follow your gaze. The system includes options for foot pedals for simulated walking or attachments for throttle or rudder pedals for racing and flight simulation. You can also get a tabletop so you can use a keyboard and mouse if you wish.

The Roto VR Chair also offers a unique cable management system called a Cable Magazine that prevents your headset’s tether cables from wrapping around you while the motorized chair spins you around. The base of the chair features inputs for HDMI, USB, and audio, which pass through the chair into the Cable Magazine.

The Cable Magazine is the only part that Roto VR couldn’t deliver 100% as advertised. The company initially said that the Cable Magazines would support HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Sony PlayStation VR, but the PSVR support won’t be available initially. If you ordered a Roto VR Chair to use with a PSVR headset, the company said you should contact info@rotovr.com to discuss your options. Roto VR didn’t say when or if PSVR would be supported, but the company noted that it is “in discussions with first party brand owners.” With the Windows Mixed Reality platform just around the corner, we wonder if those discussions include Microsoft and its Windows MR hardware partners.

The only other thing that Roto VR changed about the chair is that you can now get a B2B package that includes a commercial license warranty. The B2B package also includes an armrest with an emergency stop button so that guests have an easy way to quit the ride if they don’t want to continue.

Roto VR didn’t say when it would begin shipping Roto VR Chairs to its customers, but it said that if you have a pre-order in and wish to change or upgrade it, you should do so in the next two weeks, which suggests the company plans to start shipping units as soon as possible.

As part of the final push to production, Roto VR is running one last pre-order promotion. If you buy the Total Roto VR Package, which includes all the available accessories, you can save an additional $100 off the already discounted (by $125) price. The base Roto VR Chair without any accessories is available for $999.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • mac_angel
  • mrmez
    And here I am, using my legs like a sucker...
  • dark_lord69
    "The base Roto VR Chair without any accessories is available for $999."
    I don't think this will sell very well for the same reason the Virtuix Omni hasn't sold well. It's a great idea and great product but... The price seems like it was thought up by a guy who just went outside for lunch and paid $15 for a hot dog. While it may be nice to live in LA and NY some companies need to re-evaluate how much people can afford and would be willing to pay. And perhaps they're not trying to make lots of money on each unit, it could be that production costs are too high but they should have thought of that.
    Don't get me wrong, it seems like it would be awesome for VR and I would love one but like may others, (I can afford it) but I'm not willing to pay that much.
  • elliott.myers
    Our production costs increased beyond what we anticipated (significantly so) so we had to restructure our offering. We see the opportunity as long term, so will constantly strive to reduce production costs. We have also been under a lot of pressure to launch, so have had to bite the bullet on some parts being over engineered or over priced.