Treadmills are one of the most popular machines for a workout in the U.S. Will they also become one of the most popular virtual reality gaming accessories?
One of the most-buzzed about virtual reality treadmills right now is the Virtuix Omni, which appeared on Shark Tank in 2014. This treadmill, like all vr treadmills, is technically an omnidirectional treadmill because it allows you to walk and run like on a regular treadmill but also strafe, jump, and walk backwards so that you can move through virtual worlds with your own two feet! Imagine Skyrim or Evolve if you could actually run and move in your game – it’d be outrageous! But already, you can play GTA VR (Grand Theft Auto 5 in virtual reality) with the help of a mode.
About the Virtuix Omni
The Virtuix Omni appeared on Kickstarter in July 2013 and ran a super successful campaign that sought to raise $150,000 but raised $1,060,000 in funding from more than 3,000 backers. Just a few months later, it appeared on ABC’s popular investment reality show, Shark Tank (on Season 5, Episode 11). Unfortunately, the Virtuix Omni team didn’t land the multi-million dollar deal they sought from the Shark Tank investors but, not too long afterwards, one of the key Shark Tank stars, Mark Cuban, became an investor. An investment firm of his contributed to $3 million in funding raised to produce the Virtuix Omni product.
The Virtuix Omni lets you walk or even run in real time on a treadmill and reflects your actions in the game with the help of movement trackers. It is pretty clear that this way of playing is a great way to burn calories and stay fit while also enjoying your virtual reality experience.
The ingredients that make the Virtuix Omni so immersive
The ring and the harness
To use the Virtuix Omni, you first must step into a device equipped with a solid waist-level support ring and a safety harness. The harness is designed to take on most of your weight, which gives you the freedom to walk or move back and forth or turn 360 degrees in your location.
The shoes you need to use the Virtuix Omni
The base of the Virtuix Omni is a low-friction surface that has grooves. For the system to work, you need to wear a special shoe with a plastic bottom. These shoes have pins on the bottom, which connect with the grooves and keep you steady. This helps the system detect your movements and steps and adds to the richness of the game.
The system doesn’t come with a virtual reality headset so you’ll need to have your own already whether it’s a Oculus Rift, a Samsung Gear VR or a Sony Project Morpheus. Take a look at our virtual reality headset store if you’d like to buy some virtual reality headsets.
If you play a shooter game, you’ll also need to have a plastic firing gun such as Striker VR’s Gun Recoil System. Game controllers are also not included.
But you don’t need a virtual reality headset to use the Omni. It’s also designed to work with any game/app that uses keyboard input.
What are the reviews saying?
Some testers report that it’s a little hard to get used to everything you are wearing and how and when to use them. This isn’t a big surprise as we’re used to playing in front of a TV or a computer and just clicking a keyboard or mouse or moving our hands holding a gaming control. But, this unsure feeling will wear off after a little time playing the game, once you get used to the equipment.
Height and Weight Capacity
Are you between 4’8″ to 6’5″ (142cm – 195cm)? If so, you’re good to go.
Are you under 285lbs (130kg). Yes? They you can put on the Virtuix Omni shoes and plunge into your virtual reality world.
Virtuix Omni – Price
While the Virtuix Omni seems like it belongs far in the future, the truth is that you can preorder one now on the Virtuix website. For $699, you can order a Virtuix Omni Package which includes:
- 1 Virtuix Omni gaming platform
- 1 Omni Harness
- 1 pair of Omni Shoes (they come in U.S. sizes 4-15, Euro size 37-48 and UK sizes 3.5-14.5)
- 1 pair of Omni Tracking Pods along with tracking software
The Virtuix Omni Package also comes with a few demo games including TRAVR, in which you play a futuristic VR adventurer who has landed in an ancient and hostile world from where you must escape.
Over 3,000 Omni units have been sold so far!
Interested in the Virtuix Omni? Join our mailing list at the top right of this page to find out when it becomes available on our site.