360-Degree VR Treadmill Virtuix Omni One to Launch in Q2 of 2021
The VR startup Virtuix is building a virtual reality treadmill for use at home which is set for release in the second quarter of 2021. It is an elaborate and full-body controller that enables you to physically run, jump and even crouch on the same spot.
This VR treadmill comes after the company’s earlier business and arcade-focused device.
The VR experiences allows you to simulate walking while being at the same spot. Nothing in this treadmill moves like in the real treadmill. The user wears special shoes that slip on the surface of the round and disc-shaped base. As a result, the user is able to walk on the same spot in any direction. The user will be moving in the virtual reality environment while in the real sense, they are stationary on the same spot. It is set to ship mid next year and will retail for $1,995. Virtuix unveiled the product alongside a crowdfunding investment campaign.
The development of the crowdfunded Virtuix Omni started back in 2013. The low-friction platform works with special low-friction shows or shoe covers along with a harness. As your feet slide across the platform, the physical movement is translated into the virtual reality environment.
The Omni One is more compact than its earlier iterations. The user is anchored to a single vertical bar rather than a ring around the entire treadmill. The devices can even be folded up and put away. The games that users play on the device will come from a dedicated store and will launch with up to 30 titles. Virtuix didn’t reveal the full list but it is planning to feature third-party games as well as experiences that it has created itself. The startup will build games similar to Call of Duty and Fortnite.
The retail Omni One platform will be self-contained and will have a standalone VR headset. It is currently being tested with the Pico Neo 2. However, Virtuix announced that in the coming months, they will have to decide on the headset to use for retail from “a few good, next-gen HMD options”. Its $995 developer kit will only provide the treadmill portion. Virtuix is opening a Regulation A funding campaign for users looking for a full package that will enable companies to sell shares via a crowdfunding-style process. Fans who like the concept will need to invest a minimum of $1,000. They will then get a 20% discount on the consumer Omni One in return for a 40% discount should they invest during the first week.
These investments aren’t being described as “preorders”. Virtual Reality crowdfunding campaigns are usually a high-risk proposition as the technology and the markets are highly dynamic as companies keep on unveiling new products and technologies.
The Omni was initially conceived as a home gaming system that would be shipped globally and was known as Omni Pro. However, Virtuix had to cancel some of its Omni Pro preorders as the original device was too big and complex. Virtuix had stopped this business-focused treadmill to focus its efforts on virtual reality arcades. With location-based virtual reality having been skewered by the coronavirus pandemic, Virtuix is now resuming installations for business customers.
The Omni One, on the other hand, is lighter and more compact. It is also easily foldable. Its sleeker look makes it a tasteful addition in your living room or other spaces in your home.
The release date for Omni One was pushed forward following a surge in the enthusiasm for high-end home fitness tech during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Virtuix, the Omni One treadmill is like a Peloton bike for gamers and it will be sold for about the same price range. Its primary focus might not be fitness but it is guaranteed to keep you moving physically and burning a few calories.
Virtuix plans to sell Omni One as a complete entertainment unit that will include a standalone VR headset. It will come with everything in the box and users will not need any additional equipment.
The whole Omni One unit will cost $1,995 and includes the Omni One with an accompanying headset. The startup will also offer a $55/month payment plan as well as a ‘dev kit’ option that goes for $995 that does not come with a VR headset and that connects to the PC for development or for PC VR content.