Now the Rift’s logical companion is crowdfunding on Kickstarter and it has already met a $150,000 funding goal. It’s called the Omni, it’s an omnidirectional gaming treadmill and it’s creators want to blur the line between video games and reality.
We are in the midst of a revolution in virtual reality. The release of affordable head mounted displays and low-cost sensor technologies has brought the decades-old dream of true virtual reality closer than ever, but there’s still one more piece to the puzzle: the Omni.
Using the Omni sounds pretty simple. It comes with it’s own software suite and it’s completely programmable. It’s compatible with any game that takes a keyboard input. PC gamers should love it.
The player wears a special pair of shoes designed to work with the Omni. The Omni has slots throughout the bottom of the treadmill’s deck. The shoes have a small peg on the bottom of each sole that guides the player’s foot through the slots, thus keeping the foot stable. A surface with added friction on the toe completes the package and helps the user maintain a natural gait. The design is patent pending.
The package also includes a belt to prevent players from falling down while playing. The belt is said to support 285 lbs.
When considering the Omni used in tandem with the Oculus Rift or another VR headset, the future of gaming becomes a little more clear. Are we saying a slow, collective goodbye to the days of sitting in front of a big rectangular screen with a dozen-button controller?
It certainly makes a lot of sense. Also consider the health benefits. Gaming isn’t exactly a high-energy activity in it’s currently accepted format. The Omni changes that. Doesn’t a round of Call of Duty sound like more fun than a half hour on a regular treadmill?
There are working prototypes of the Omni being tested by the team at Virtuix, who created the device. The reviews thus far have been positive to say the least…
- “Jaw-dropping virtual reality” – PC Gamer
- “Impressive and probably the single best reason to ever play Skyrim without fast travel” – Kotaku
- “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re looking at the future of gaming” – Road To VR
- “If you really want that full-motion experience, what you’ll need is a gaming rig that lets you walk around as well. Enter the Virtuix Omni” – The Escapist
- “Try resist throwing money at the screen” – Engadget
Units can be preordered for $429 on up depending on what other perks the backer receives with his or her device. What if you just can’t wait until January of next year to get it? You can order a custom expedited unit for $7,499. With almost half a million raised at the time of writing this project is already a goal and very likely may be headed to the list of million-dollar Kickstarter campaigns.
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