Virtuix's Omni One VR treadmill improves upon the design of its predecessor

Cal Jeffrey

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Forward-looking: Omnidirectional treadmills for VR, such as the one seen in Ready Player One, are the next big thing in VR immersion, at least that's what Virtuix thinks. The startup already has much invested in VR sports and arenas. Now it says it is preparing to launch a treadmill small and simple enough to use in your home.

A virtual reality startup called Virtuix is developing a treadmill that aims to make VR gaming even more immersive. The Omni One is not your traditional treadmill, though. That is to say; there is no "tread." Instead, the octagonal platform has a smooth surface that becomes slippery when used with the low-friction shoe covers that come with it. The base is similar to its first treadmill concept, the Omni, but departs in the way it holds the user in place.

A harness secures the user from behind, rather than encircling them, so there are no obstructions impeding movements. As the player walks or runs on the platform, the motions become input for the game in real-time. Walking and running is not the only thing that gets translated into an input. The harness is attached to an arm-like appendage that can move up and down and rotate around the platform. So crouching, kneeling, ducking, jumping, and turning can all be mimicked in the virtual environment with corresponding motions in the real world.

The one drawback is that the Omni One will not work with just any VR game. Like many other specialized peripherals, developers have to program their titles to be compatible with the device. Virtuix says it will have a dedicated store for Omni One compatible games. It says 30 titles are currently ready for launch but didn't have a list to divulge. However, the company did say that it plans to work with other developers to bring games like Fortnite and PUBG to the platform.

The Omni One is an all-in-one VR setup that includes the treadmill and a VR headset and accessories (no PC or tethering required). The company is currently testing it using the Pico Neo 2 but said that it would finalize a headset decision in the months before launch. Virtuix plans to release the Omni One sometime in the middle of next year for $1,995. Developers can pick up a developer kit that only includes the treadmill (bring your own VR) for $995.

It has also initiated a Regulation A funding campaign. It is seeking $65 million in seed capital at about $3 per share. Investments of $1,000 or more also receive a 40- or 20-percent (depending on how early they get in) discount on the Omni One's retail version when it releases.

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stewi0001

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My opinion, I think it's a fairly good idea and design. I wouldn't call it a treadmill. Maybe they should call it, "Omni Slippy." XD

I'm also guessing that you can't laydown on that. Since some FPS games you can crawl on the ground. The biggest benefit I see from this is how much less space you'd need to play a VR game.

Also, I'd like to see someone play Death Stranding with this.
 
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kimo1

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People barely have cash to buy proper VR set. And I know zero persons to own a VR treadmill. People rather risk smacking their hands and legs against something, even spilling water is fine.
 

Squid Surprise

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People barely have cash to buy proper VR set. And I know zero persons to own a VR treadmill. People rather risk smacking their hands and legs against something, even spilling water is fine.
This actually isn't that costly... a decent VR headset costs between $500-1000... then you need accessories and an actual PC!!

This is $2000 for the whole thing - and you get the treadmill...

The thing is - does it actually work? Have to test it first - but if it does, this is actually a bargain.
 
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sorten

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This looks awesome. The guy is obviously taking small, well practiced steps when he runs, but it seems to work quite well. I would want the option to pick my own headset, and even be tethered. It's not like being tethered is a major drawback when you're strapped in place anyway.
 
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Cal Jeffrey

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Great comments.
Also, I'd like to see someone play Death Stranding with this.
LOL YES!
This actually isn't that costly... a decent VR headset costs between $500-1000... then you need accessories and an actual PC!!

This is $2000 for the whole thing - and you get the treadmill...

The thing is - does it actually work? Have to test it first - but if it does, this is actually a bargain.
Yeah, when you consider it is all-in-one the price is not bad. My only concern would be the quality iof the VR without having a decent PC to drive it. They didn't list any specs for it, so it's unclear how much processing power we're dealing with. We also don't know what the final headset will be. Things to consider.
Dont you think that most people using it will have terrible nausea from using it?
In theory you wouldn't as your brain would think your physical movement is real so motion sickness wouldn't be a thing.
Yeah, the main reason VR causes motion sickness is because you are not moving. A lot of people get nauseous riding in a car but can alleviate it by not looking out the window. My mom would read a book when our family took long trips. Many (most? all?) games use tricks to limit the effects of motion sickness in VR like using snap turning, teleport to move, vignettes when moving that get tighter the faster you go. All these help to limit the number of movement stimuli the player experiences. Although I have never used VR on a treadmill, if you are moving your body in ways that correlate to the visual stimulus, theoretically it should not be much different than walking or running in RL. It's an interesting theory I wouldn't mind putting to the test. Of course, I'm so accustomed to VR now that I play with all the comfort settings turned off, but I would still be interessted in seeing how much different playing on a treadmill would be from playing while stationary.
This looks awesome. The guy is obviously taking small, well practiced steps when he runs, but it seems to work quite well. I would want the option to pick my own headset, and even be tethered. It's not like being tethered is a major drawback when you're strapped in place anyway.
Yeah, I was thinking this too. I imagine that there is probably a learning curve and a bit of stumbling at first from taking too wide a stride. They might even some type of beginner tutorial on using it that eases you into how to move on the thing. I know if I was the developer that would be something that I would include. I'd be interested in talking to someone who has actually use one of these.

Also having the option to tether to your existing VR setup would be a definite plus. A lot of people are not going to buy this simply for the fact that they already have a good VR rig. This thing's design is such that, a) (as you say) you are strapped in and b) the arm on the back could be used to route cabling. But the only draw back to that I see is that you would lose the 360-degree movement as the cords would begin to wrap. However, this issue could be mitigated by adding a tethered mode that locked rotation of the platform and required turns to be executed with the controller.