Virtual Reality

Omni gaming treadmill really gets moving on Kickstarter

Omni gaming treadmill really g...
The Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill designed to provide a more immersive gaming experience
The Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill designed to provide a more immersive gaming experience
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The first prototype shoe for the Omni
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The first prototype shoe for the Omni
Playing a shooter on the Omni
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Playing a shooter on the Omni
The Omni is designed to fit in a living room, even if it is a little on the large side
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The Omni is designed to fit in a living room, even if it is a little on the large side
A very early prototype of the Omni
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A very early prototype of the Omni
A screenshot of the Omni's motion tracking software
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A screenshot of the Omni's motion tracking software
A new version of the Omni's special shoe
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A new version of the Omni's special shoe
An engineer drawing of the Omni's final design
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An engineer drawing of the Omni's final design
The Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill designed to provide a more immersive gaming experience
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The Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill designed to provide a more immersive gaming experience
The final Omni prototype
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The final Omni prototype

When we first checked in on the Omni, an omnidirectional treadmill from Virtuix designed to translate the user's physical movements into a virtual world, the company was hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign in May. It missed that target, but only just, with a launch on June 4. The campaign target has already been exceeded many times over, meaning backers could be getting physical within virtual worlds by January 2014.

If you missed our coverage the first time around, the Omni is a motion controller that captures a player's movements using a sloped octagonal platform topped with a low-friction surface. This surface features grooves into which pins on special shoes worn by the user slot to prevent unwanted lateral movement. The device can also work in conjunction with Microsoft's Kinect to allow tracking of other body movements, such as jumping, ducking and arm movements.

The Omni will also work with the Oculus Rift and other head mounted displays to provide an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience. According to Virtuix, all Rift games will be supported as soon as that product launches. In addition, it can be used with any game that accepts keystrokes as the input method as the included software is able to translate the user's movements into keystrokes. This means gamers will be able to use it with almost any PC game on the market.

The team had mentioned that it planned to decrease the size of the prototype from the previous 48 in (122 cm) diameter, but it looks like it will remain that size, at least for the time being. It weighs in at 110 lb (50 kg), but it does break into pieces for storage purposes.

The creators of the Omni also talk about the device's potential fitness applications, with taking a jog through Skyrim given as one possible example that is demonstrated in the following video (although at more of a stroll than a jog). That certainly seems like a more enjoyable way to lose weight than simply staring at a wall or TV on a traditional treadmill. The software will also track distance traveled and calories burned.

Virtuix has also revealed what size user the Omni can accommodate. The safety bar adjusts to fit players ranging from 4 ft 8 in to 6 ft 5 in (142 cm to 195 cm) in height and can support weights of up to 285 pounds (130 kg). The belts, which come in different sizes, attach to the safety bar to prevent the user slipping and falling down.

Various pledge tiers are available, including some that add the Omni Rack, an accessory holder for devices like the Oculus Rift. An important thing to note is that all the packages are limited, with all the cheaper tiers having already been filled. At the time of publication, this leaves US$429 as the minimum amount backers will need to pony up to get the device. But those interested won't want to dilly-dally. Deliveries are expected to begin in January 2014.

The Kickstarter video pitch below provides some more information on the Omni.

Source: Virtuix and Kickstarter

2 comments
Stradric
This is cool and all, but it seems like a novelty better suited for an arcade than my living room (and arcades are a dying breed). I don't really see it catching on. People like to enjoy games while sitting down, and the protagonist's stamina shouldn't be limited by the stamina of the gamer. Still, it's a brilliant solution to the problem.
Kevon Lindenberg
dance dance evolution