July 02, 2013, 2:10 PM — We've been following with great interest the developments of Virtuix's Omni system, a virtual reality treadmill-like device that enables gamers to walk around in their favorite environments.
The company's latest video showcases two players using the system in a multiplayer environment - in this case, the multiplayer aspect of the game Minecraft. In addition to the Omni device, the players are utilizing the Oculus Rift headset, another gadget employing concepts of virtual reality.
Virtuix has launched its Kickstarter project, hoping to raise money to begin the manufacturing process for the Omni. With 20 days to go, the company has raised $967,240 (out of a $150,000 goal).
Between this project, the Oculus Rift headset, Google Glass eyewear and the gesture-control features of the Leap Motion, we're seeing a convergence of trends in the virtual reality space. The dreams of true VR that began in the mid-'90s thanks to movies like "The Matrix" and other films or games are looking more and more likely thanks to these projects.
There's still a big jump between delivery of devices like the Omni and Oculus Rift and mainstream acceptance - it's not a foregone conclusion that you'll see one of these devices in everyone's living room in the near future. For example, these smaller companies could end up being acquired by the likes of a Microsoft, Sony or even Google as part of those companies' larger plans for gaming consoles or glasses. Development of these could go beyond games and into other fields - in 2020, could your local gym have rows of Omni devices instead of regular treadmills? At the moment, this gear is very geeky (and bulky) - but if they can smooth out those edges and really push the VR experience, they have a great shot at hitting the mainstream.
Remember, we all thought Wii bowling was a bit odd until we tried it.
What are your thoughts on the VR convergence - would you get one if the price (and non-geek factor) was right? Do you think it would enhance your gaming (or workout) experience? Let me know in the comments.
Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.