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Omnidirectional treadmill + Oculus Rift = At-home virtual reality finally arrives

April 22, 2013 | Telepresence Options

virtual reality treadmill

Story and Images by Sebastian Anthony / extremetech

Ladies and gentlemen, some 20 years after the first seeing people jog stupidly on the spot while wearing a large headset and a glove, the future of gaming is finally here: The Omni, an omnidirectional treadmill from Virtuix that allows you to walk, run, or strafe comfortably in any direction. Combined with a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift, the Omni allows for the most immersive (and exhausting) gameplay yet devised.

At this point, you should watch at least the first two videos below. The first is a full-blown example of someone using the Omni and Oculus Rift to play�Team Fortress 2. The second gives you a much better idea of how the Omni actually works. The third video is the Omni being used to walk around�Skyrim's world of Tamriel, which is probably a lot more relaxing than running away from rockets and sticky bombs like a lunatic.

As you can see in the second video, the Omni -- rather unbelievably -- has no moving parts. Instead, the Omni is fashioned out of a low-friction surface with radial grooves, and the user wears special low-friction shoes with a "plunger pin" that slots into the grooves. Combined with the waist support assembly, this setup allows for comfortable, assured, hands-free walking, running, strafing (side-stepping), and even jumping.

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