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"Omni" Treadmill Lets You Burn Calories While Gaming

| 5 Mar 2013 07:18

Next time someone tells you to "get off the PC and exercise," you can retort, "But I am exercising!"

Sitting on the couch, or in front of your computer, for hours on end playing Skyrim and wolfing down cheetos is bad for your health. This is something that we, as gamers, have simply had to accept. Just like smokers or drinkers, our habit is slowly killing us. Until now. Virtuix has designed an omni-directional treadmill called the Omni, which allows users to walk in virtual environments such as Skyrim. The treadmill hooks up to a game system and converts movement from the player into keystrokes.

The video to the right demonstrates the Omni being used in Skyrim. You can see that the player's movements in real-life are directly translated to his actions on screen. An Xbox Kinect is used to track the player's head movements. In a game like Skyrim which features copious amounts of running from area to area, I'd imagine you would get quite a workout.

Another video shows the game being used in conjunction with Crysis: Warhead. As Crysis: Warhead was a PC-exclusive, we can assume that the device will be limited to the PC, at least initially. Virtuix CEO Jan Goetgeluk says that the Omni will fit in your living room, be affordable for your average consumer, and will allow users to walk effortlessly in a VR environment thanks to its special low-friction surface.

"The Omni's strongest part is that it has no electronics and no moving parts, which keeps the cost down," says Goetgeluk. "It has a low-friction surface with grooves, and comes with a pair of low-friction shoes that have a plunger pin at the bottom that fit in the surface grooves. As such, your foot is stabilized when walking, instead of sliding left and right as if you were walking on ice. The gait feels natural and effortless," he tells us.

Goetgeluk says that the Omni is still in an early prototype stage, and at this point the company is working on refining the design so the device can be folded up and packed away when not in use. He says that the Omni in its current form doesn't need an SDK, as it simply emulates keystrokes, but Virtuix is looking in to the possibly of de-coupling the user's looking direction from their walking direction and even gun aiming direction. "Then you have true virtual reality," Goetgeluk says.

Source: BabySoft MurderHands

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