Traditional game movement controls may soon become obsolete, as players will be offered a truly immersive virtual reality gaming experience with the help of the Omni: a multi-directional treadmill paired with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
Developed by Texas based company Virtuix, the Omni allows users to become part of the game, by tracking their movements and translating them into the virtual world. The device currently works only with a PC, but the developers are optimistic that it can be associated with any platform, such as Xbox or PlayStation consoles, after the right software is developed.
The manufacturers have released several videos demonstrating how the Omni works with games such as Skyrim or Team Fortress 2 and they give assurances that the device will be able to support all PC games when it is released.
Unlike the traditional treadmill belt, the Omni is provided with a sloped surface that can move in all directions and is actually set into motion by the user’s steps. It allows players a 360-degrees view in the game. Users must wear special shoes, designed to offer a more stabilized and natural movement and prevent them from sliding. The device is also provided by an adjustable waist support ring that will allow users to walk hands free.
The Omni is also equipped with a Kinect sensor to track movement, but also with an integrated motion sensor that can recognize arm movements mimicking the drawing of a bow or the swinging of a sword. The motion tracker also enables virtual strafing and crouching.
Virtuix plans to start a Kickstarter campaign for the project at the end of next month. The company is looking at a retail price of $400-600 for the innovative device. The current Omni prototype has a diameter of about 48 inches (122cm) and the manufacturer is hoping to be able to shrink the future release model. The device can be easily disassembled, allowing safe storage and transport.
Take a look at this video to see how the Omni works:
[Image via ExtremeTech]