Preorders Now Open For The Virtuix Omni Gaming Treadmill
Back in June 2013, Texas-based Virtuix took its Omni Treadmill to Kickstarter, looking to raise $150,000. 48 days and 3,000 backers later, and the organization found itself with a whopping $1,109,351 sitting in its lap. Now, a little under a month since the Kickstarter finished, and the treadmill's ready to go to market. Well, sort of - it's available for preorder.
The hardware, which is expected to ship in March 2014, brings us closer to virtual reality than we've ever been before. For those of you who've never heard of the project, it's basically a treadmill designed to simulate movement in a virtual environment. When you move in a particular direction, the Omni will translate that movement into in-game movement, whether through direct input or through keyboard input. Basically, what this means is that instead of holding down a key on the keyboard, you're actually getting up off your hefty posterior and moving your character around with your body.
Implications for fitness aside, this nifty little piece of hardware has some very real - and downright incredible - implications for virtual reality, particularly if you combine it with technology like the Oculus Rift and Tactical Haptics of the Razer Hydra. Sounds pretty awesome, right? There's just one small problem.
The Omni Treadmill costs a hefty $499. For those of you willing to shell that cash out, you'll get the platform, a special pair of shoes, installation software, and a Software Development Kit. A second packaged deal is available for the low, low price of $1019. This one'll get you two treadmills, three pairs of shoes, two harness/belt combinations, and the same software and hardware that ships with individual units.
"We are in the midst of a revolution in virtual reality," wrote Virtuix back in June. "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."