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Google patents 'virtual reality footwear' designed to make you feel like you're walking

One step ahead?

Google VR shoes patent application

An image from Google's patent application for "augmented and/or virtual reality footwear."

Screenshot by Abrar Al-Heeti

Have you ever put on a virtual reality headset but hesitated to walk around because you might smack into a wall? If so, Google may have a fix for you.

The search giant filed a patent application, published last week, that details "motorized footwear" for "augmented and/or virtual reality." 

Donning the roller-skate-like shoes will allow a person to move as if walking, motion that can be linked to movement in the virtual environment he or she is experiencing. In the physical world, however, the motors and wheels on the shoes will negate that movement and keep the wearer safe from walls and other obstacles. 

"This may allow the user to walk, seemingly endlessly in the virtual environment, while remaining within a defined physical space in the physical environment," the patent application reads.

Google's VR shoes aren't a real product yet, and it isn't clear if they ever will be. Still, something to keep in mind, ArsTechnica points out, is that the company will have to ensure users don't fall over while wearing the snazzy footwear. Otherwise, this won't be much of an improvement over blindly stumbling around with a pair of VR goggles strapped to your head.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.