The Oculus Rift is already in the hands of developers. The small start-up company headed by Palmer Luckey has begun shipping the first wave of devkit editions of the VR head gear. In August last year, the Rift blew gamers’ and developers’ minds everywhere. It’s about to get a most perfect partner in VR hardware: the Omni by Virtuix.
An omni directional treadmill has been discussed and prototyped before as an obvious addition to any virtual reality setup. Those, however, have been massive and expensive. Thanks to this Virtuix company, an omni-directional treadmill that’s aimed at consumers is about to become a very real thing.
“The Omni is a natural motion interface for virtual reality applications. Its core is an omni treadmill that allows a user to walk naturally in 360 degrees. The Omni comes with integrated tracking hardware and software that translates the user’s motion to the movement of his or her avatar in the game.”
At present, the team behind the Omni is prepping a Kickstarter campaign. Their aims for the final piece of hardware include: “being affordable to household consumers, fitting in a living room, and above all, enabling the user to walk freely and naturally, as he or she would in real life.”
The Omni requires a head-tracking VR unit, like the Oculus Rift. With the two combined you’ll get probably the closest thing to a Star Trek Holodeck that we’ll see in our lifetime. Check out Team Fortress 2 with both the Omni and Oculus Rift:
They’ve also managed to get their prototype working with Kinect to aid body tracking, but Microsoft’s peripheral will not be needed. So far the Omni hooks up to a PC and obviously requires a gamepad for further input. According to their FAQ page, the Omni can be used with any game that requires a mouse and keyboard. Here it is being used with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
I guess the last thing left to do is say: