Entertainment, Gaming, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Virtuix Ships Its First Omni Platform

Virtuix Inc. said on Wednesday that it has delivered its first Omni platform to an individual who backed the Kickstarter campaign on its first day. That means production is finally in full swing after the project first launched back in June 2013.

The Virtuix Omni is built for virtual reality gaming. It consists of a concave platform and a support ring that attaches to the base to keep you in position. The base features grooves that special Omni shoes slide into. The platform doesn’t move, thus you’re essentially walking in place and stepping forward at the same time.

I took the Virtuix Omni for a spin a few years ago at E3. At the time, the company was using a Microsoft Kinect to track the user’s footsteps. The process of stepping forward but remaining in place took some getting used to, but in the end the effort was worth it. Essentially I was walking through a scenario in Half-Life 2 that was powered by the Oculus Rift, dodging bullets and dancing around NPCs.

However, the Omni setup seems to have ditched the Kinect sensor for Omni Tracking PODs that attach to the shoes, IMU tracking devices that capture the movement of each foot with, according to the company, no noticeable latency. With the Kinect I noticed some latency when moving in any direction; I’m betting the PODs are highly accurate and do a better job bringing your movements into the virtual world.

“I’ve always wanted to run around in impossible, virtual worlds,” said Fred Wood, recipient of the first Omni platform. “Virtuix has developed a product to make that possible, and I can’t wait to start running on my Omni.”

The Kickstarter campaign was a huge success for Virtuix, reeling in 3,249 backers pledging a meaty $1,109,351 USD. Virtuix said it reached its funding goal in a mere 3.5 hours on June 5, 2013, selling more than 1,250 in that timeframe.

Consumers can pre-order the Omni now for $699. The package includes one platform, one pair of Omni shoes, one pair of Omni Tracking Pods, one harness, a limited year warranty and a few demos. Customers can purchase an additional set of shoes for $59, an additional set of Omni Tracking PODs for $79, and the Omni Harness for $79. There’s also a $79 rack that holds accessories like game controllers, the HMD and so on.