Alumnus invention lets you game with your feet

not me tho I'm built different (worse)
Hridya Dhulipala | Mercury Staff

The former Comet’s innovative new controller, known as Glydr, has gathered almost $65,000 in funding

A UTD Alumnus recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a product named Glydr, which introduces a controller that allows you to play video games with your feet, offering a new immersive way to game. At the time of publication, the campaign has amassed $65,000.

Glydr is a peripheral device that allows a user to perform in-game actions through foot inputs. Initially created by UTD alumnus Rick Tett to address the challenge of awkward movement in virtual reality environments, it now serves as a versatile controller for a wide array of games, applicable to both VR and general PC gaming. Spanning 7 years, the controller went through nine iterations until Tett settled on the current model.

“Wouldn’t if be cool if you could take the concept of a hoverboard using your two feet, with slight moves to fly around in physical space, and use that as digital input?” Tett said.

It introduces an innovative and more accessible way to engage with video games, especially for individuals who find traditional mouse, keyboard or gamepad setups challenging. By mapping these actions onto a foot-controlled device. Tett said the device acts as a versatile peripheral that transcends accessibility features, with the ability to enhance the gaming experience for a wide audience.

“With a market the size of the gamer market, I’ve just been looking for people to believe that this really could be something,” Tett said. “That’s where I found my co-founders, especially John Warren … he sees the huge potential in this.”

John Warren is the Chief Marketing Officer for Glydr; his father originally introduced him to Tett. After hearing of the product for the first time, he was surprised to find nothing like it existed. When he left his job, Tett reached back out, leading to Warren’s decision to join Glydr as a co-founder.

“I used it to play Risk of Rain 2 and other FPS games,” Warren said. “I found that to be incredibly cool … it actually gave you a sense of immersion.”

Throughout its development under the UTDesign teams, Glydr underwent numerous iterations as they explored various methods for controlling games with the feet. The process involved extensive experimentation with nine different versions, and three rotating platform concepts. Ultimately, Tett would decide on the current design: a standalone peripheral device intended to complement the keyboard and mouse or gamepad.

“My favorite part of that entire iterative process he [Tett] walked me through, is that his very first prototype, a wood and metal prototype, is the closest thing to what we have now,” Warren said.

After years of development and securing patents in regions from the U.S. to Korea, Glydr is advancing into the later stages of its journey, propelled by $65,000 raised through the Kickstarter campaign at the time of this article. The product will now enter a new chapter, moving from a design concept, to something actively being marketed and sold to consumers.

“We had high confidence we would get funded in the first day,” Tett said, “so it was very pleasant we hit it in the first hour.”

As Tett continues with the production of Glydr, he acknowledged the impact and importance of programs like CometX, a six-week entrepreneurship accelerator program that teaches UTD students how to build and scale a startup. After all the teams pitched their ideas for a prize, Tett won in his first semester at UTD.

“When you’re young and you have ideas, don’t be afraid to pursue them,” Tett said.

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