A glimpse into the future of virtual reality

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

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Video gaming is no longer the exclusive domain of couch potatoes.

We have seen the future of fully-immersive, highly-physical virtual reality, and it looks very cool.

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virtuix-omni3Thanks to a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign, tech company Virtuix Omni has created a high-tech treadmill to complement the virtual reality headsets starting to enter the market.

The first-of-its-kind interface, which allows users to walk, run and jump around their favourite games, debuted this week at the annual International CES tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada.

American entrepreneur Jan Goetgeluk, chief executive of Virtuix, told the GamesBeat conference in 2013 that his company’s mission is to take virtual reality “beyond the chair”.

Not content with video gaming, Mr Goetgeluk also sees potential for the device in police and military training, fitness, tourism, and social gatherings.

“Three years ago, people had a weird look on their faces when I mentioned virtual reality,” he said.

“Now, people realize it is an exciting industry. Sony, Samsung, Facebook-Oculus are all investing in it. And we have a niche that no other big player is doing.”

Virtuix Omni raised a little over $US1.1 million from 3,249 backers through an online campaign in 2013 on Kickstarter, and has raised a further $US2.7 million in funding since then.

The product is currently available to pre-order for $US499, and is expected to be shipped by April.

When strapped into the Omni, sensors on each of the specially-made shoes sends signals back to the machine, which tracks the user’s speed and movements and replicates them inside the game.

The treadmill works in tandem with Oculus Rift, the virtual reality goggles bought by Facebook for $2 billion. The headset is not included with the Omni.

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