Virtuix's VR Omni Treadmill Gets $3M in Additional Funding, One More Step to a More Immersive VR Gaming Experience

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Apr 25, 2014 10:43 AM EDT
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As immersive as the Oculus Rift can make the gaming experience, it still has limitations, in that your feet and booty are still firmly planted firmly on the respective couch and floor, and you're still controlling your character's movements with a controller. But thanks to folks considerably smarter than myself, they've managed to come up with a device that works in conjunction with the Facebook peripheral.

Crudely described, the Virtuix Omni is a treadmill of sorts so gamers can walk the environment of any given game, and it's a promising enough of a concept that even after a successful $1.1 million Kickstarter campaign, the deep pocketed are supporting it to the tune of a cool $3 million.

Destructoid reports that a combination of investors, including Tekton Ventures, Maveron, Scentan Ventures, Radical Investments, Scout Ventures, StartCaps Ventures, and others all pitched in, no doubt encouraged by Facebook's ten figure foray into the VR world.

"We believe Virtuix's virtual reality technology will not only disrupt the immersive gaming landscape but will enable even more useful, personal and entertaining experiences in areas beyond gaming: training and simulation, fitness, medical, military," said Jai Choi, Tekton's founder and managing partner.

Compared to Facebook's billion dollar purchase, $3 million is a drop in the bucket. But it's still a lot of money to you and me. What was it about the Omni that seems so promising? Well, see for yourself.

Here's how the peripheral changes something as simple as
Pokémon.

Or, if you want to see something more impressive, here's what it's like playing Grand Theft Auto IV with a wiimote on one of the Virtuix's competitors, the Cyberith Virtualizer.

There's definitely a market for these add-on peripherals, the only shame is that they're all dependent on the success of the Rift, which has faced some serious backlash in light of the Facebook purchase. No word from either developer if they would work with Microsoft or Sony on their own VR headsets, but I'm willing to bet that either company is already working on something similar in-house.

As someone who's watched disastrous gizmos making similar promises self-destruct again and again, it's nice to finally see something that shows actual promise.

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