We’ve seen VR in all its many forms. We’ve seen the shenanigans Facebook’s getting up to since it bought up the most high-profile VR company in existence. We’ve even tried out a couple versions of it. But nothing has us more excited about the future of VR than Virtuix and its upcoming Omni One onmidirectional treadmill, which has been made with home use in mind.
A walk in the park?
Virtuix is no stranger to Stuff. We’ve been aware of the company’s tech since the very first crowdfunding program in 2013 to its use at NASA’s JPL. From there, the Virtuix Omni disapppeared from our radars — mostly because the treadmill was very large and very expensive. Until now (and even now, it’s a little pricey). Serious VR-heads will, from about mid-2021, be able to walk, run, crouch, kneel and generally run around their homes while never leaving the spot they’re tethered to, thanks to the Omni One.
Which you absolutely have to see in action. It looks like something from a cyberpunk future, or that Assassin’s Creed movie with Michael Fassbender (with less vertical movement) but it’s the movement that’s possible while staying in the same spot that’s exciting. The Omni One’s surface is designed to give you the sensation of movement while staying in place while the included harness will stabilise your upper body. At least you won’t launch yourself into a wall, unless that moveable arm snaps at the wrong time.
Walking through an area in-game and actually walking the same distance? Crouching past enemy soldiers, or taking on a team of Call of Duty opponents by having to run in real-time? It’s been the video game dream for decades — and it’ll promote some serious fitness, something Virtuix also has its eye on. And with much of the planet opting to stay at home, this product’s time may just have come.
The system launches next year, where it’ll cost $2,000 (R33,000 or so). For the price, you’ll get the treadmill and its attendant bits, including a VR headset. So you don’t need to sell your soul to Facebook to play VR games. Just as well, as Virtuix says there will be more than 30 games at launch, too. But there’s also a monthly subscription required for the Omni One’s software. This’ll get you online and running around in games, including potential fitness options. Oh, yes, and you can also invest in the Omni One right now, if you happen to have $1,000 (R16,600) lying around doing nothing. That’ll net you shares and a discount on the hardware when it launches.