Step Aside Mario Kart — Virtual Reality Treadmills Are The Newest In Fitness Gaming
Thumbs. That’s all you needed to play the first Gameboy in 1989, where you used nothing but your thumbs to play your way through dozens of animated worlds. But now, virtual reality has made its way not only into the mainstream gaming world, but the fitness industry as well. The Virtuix Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill that let’s you jump, walk, run and play through a 360-degree virtual reality experience. Welcome to 2014.
Paired with an Oculus Rift headset to immerse you in a full-blown 3D world, the Virtuix Omni brings together motion and virtual reality, providing the ultimate gaming experience while getting users up and moving. This omnidirectional treadmill uses Microsoft Kinect to track movement, including everything from walking and running to crouching and jumping. The platform of the treadmill is grooved with a crater-like shape, and when you stand on it, a ring surrounds you at waist level where you are connected to the machine with a harness.
And the options are endless, too. Currently, movement-based shooting games (e.g. Call of Duty) are the primary focus, but Virtuix has promoted the Omni as an application for exercise and fitness. Not only that, but the software also tracks calorie burn and distance traveled as you traverse virtual environments and battlefields. This treadmill might have potential to get even the most competitive gamers working up a sweat in the heat of battle.
“Applications of natural movement in virtual reality stretch far beyond gaming: training and simulation, fitness, virtual tourism, virtual tradeshows and events, meet-ups and multi-person adventures, virtual workplaces, museums, VR architecture, VR concerts… The possibilities are limitless.” — Virtuix.com
Gym Of The Future
The Virtuix Omni is a reality after it raised $1.1 million in a Kickstarter campaign, and snagged another $2 million in funding after Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR. If you’re sold and looking to splurge, you can preorder the Virtuix Omni for $499, with units expected to ship out in September 2014. But the $499 doesn’t get you everything: just the treadmill platform, special shoes, and harness. Additional software, games, and the headset are all additional costs and sold separately.
To learn more about the specifics of this virtual reality treadmill, check out the video above. It shows you just how the Virtuix Omni works from start to finish and gives you a glimpse of actual gamers using it in action.
is an AFAA-CGF, Beachbody INSANITY Coach, former chunky gal
, 110% pure fitness junkie and an SEC-lovin' sorority girl at the University of Missouri.
When she isn't spending her extra time as a campus tour guide (Go Tigers!), she's probably scrounging around the aisles of Barnes & Noble or doing some impulse online shopping.
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