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Virtuix announces Omni One home VR treadmill

Virtuix, a virtual reality startup, is building a VR treadmill for your home. The Omni One is an elaborate full-body controller that lets you physically run, jump and crouch in place. Following a previous device focused on business and arcades, it is expected to ship in mid-2021 for $ 1,995 and Virtuix announces the product with a crowdfunding investment campaign.

The crowdfunded Virtuix Omni began development in 2013. It’s not a traditional treadmill – it’s a low-friction platform that’s used with special low-friction shows or shoe covers and a harness. (You may recall Steven Spielberg̵

7;s general concept of a VR treadmill Ready Player One.) As an Omni One prototype video demonstrates, the device basically holds you in place as your feet slide across the platform, and that movement is translated into a VR environment. We’ve tried previous versions of Omni and it’s an awkward but fascinating experience.

Virtuix Omni video clips

The Omni One is more compact than its predecessors, anchoring users to a single vertical bar instead of a ring around the entire treadmill. You can also fold it up and put it away. It will play games from a dedicated store that is expected to launch with 30 titles. Virtuix doesn’t have a comprehensive list, but plans to include third-party games alongside the experiences it develops on its own, with the latter category including games similar to Fortnite is call of Duty.

The retail Omni One will be a standalone system with a standalone headset – it’s being tested with a Pico Neo 2, but Virtuix will decide which headset to use for retail in the coming months. A $ 995 developer kit will only offer the treadmill portion. For users who want the full package, Virtuix is ​​opening a Regulation A funding campaign, which allows companies to sell shares through a crowdfunding process. Fans of the concept must invest a minimum of $ 1,000 and in return will receive a 20% discount on the Omni One consumer, or a 40% discount if they invest in the first week.

Virtuix does not describe these investments as “pre-orders”. VR crowdfunding campaigns can be a high-risk proposition, as markets and technology can change rapidly as businesses are building a product. Virtuix has fulfilled its promises much better than some virtual reality startups, but Omni’s scope has nonetheless evolved over time. It was conceived as a home gaming system that would ship worldwide, but Virtuix was forced to cancel some pre-orders after the device got bigger and more complex. Virtuix later stopped offering the consumer treadmills to focus on VR arcades. Now, location-based virtual reality has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, although Virtuix says it is resuming installations for corporate customers.

The Omni One release date has been moved forward amid a wave of pandemic-driven enthusiasm for high-end home fitness technology. Virtuix describes the treadmill as something like a Peloton bike to gamers and sells it in a similar price range – while fitness isn’t the main focus, you’ll definitely move a lot in this thing. If the Omni One finds a niche (which is, of course, far from certain), Virtuix will return to square one by finally making home VR treadmills possible.

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