In an ironic way, the pandemic-caused lockdowns confining us to our home has been a blessing in disguise. In some cases, it’s helped the earth breathe a new lease of life (remember the dolphins in the canals of Venice?) and in other cases prompted ingenious designs to help us stay fit and entertained without stepping outside. A fine example of the latter is the Omni One by Virtuix – a virtual reality treadmill that’ll allow gamers to walk or run in 360-degrees inside video games and other virtual environments. The possibilities with Omni are unmatchable – it not only lets you walk but even jump, kneel, and crouch in the gaming world by mimicking the action on the treadmill in real life.
Gamers who’ve tasted the VR flavor would have heard the name Virtuix before. The start-up is currently selling a commercial version of the Omni – “Omni Pro” – to entertainment venues in over 45 countries. Now, Virtuix is coming for the first time to our homes with Omni One treadmill aimed at pushing the bounds of in-home entertainment previously set by VR headsets. Slated to debut in the second half of 2021, the omni-directional treadmill will let you feel you’re physically in a virtual world, while really sweating it out in the comfort of your home – whoever said exercise needs to be boring!
In comparison to the commercial version of the Omni, the Omni One is lighter and more compact – you can place it anywhere in the room. Compared to its predecessor that used a complete ring to hold the user in place, the Omni One comes with a single vertical bar for anchoring the user. It has a diameter of just four feet and can be easily folded up for storage. Billed as a complete entertainment system, this comes with a standalone VR headset and works without any wires or a PC connection. Just step onto the treadmill, strap on the jacket, wear the VR headset, and you’re good for a seamless experience. Virtuix has its own game store for the Omni One with in-house shooter games and some third-party titles – a total of 30 expected at kick-off.
The Omni One is priced at $1,995 and is announced via a crowdfunding investment campaign. Developers keen on experimenting with the product can get a “dev kit” package for $995 (VR headset not included). Others willing to invest in Virtuix can pool in $1,000 and receive shares in the company with additional perks of up to $800 discount on Omni One and a chance to jump the queue and be amid the first to get hands-on the VR treadmill.