When it comes to simulating walking and running within a virtual reality (VR) experience, omni-directional treadmills such as the Cyberith Virtualizer and Virtuix Omni are hoping to lead the way. However this week sees a new entry into this market as Omnifinity has detailed its Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) integration with the Omnideck 6, the latest iteration of the company’s unique 360 degree treadmill that functions very differently to these other devices.
The Omnideck 6 is essentially a 6 metre-wide motorised treadmill, laid out on the floor as a circular mat. Previously the system integrated an enormous screen that surrounded players, allowing them to look all around a virtual environment. Using the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2) negates the need for this gigantic screen as users are free to walk around the treadmill, with the HMD’s positional tracking keeping tabs on where they’re looking. Users wear a backpack with a laptop connected to the Oculus Rift for an untethered experience.
The system includes 16 sections of rollers connected to an underlying belt that will ensure users don’t come off of the mat. The Omnideck 6 will track the user’s position and Omnifinity’s software will keep velocity in check depending on the application and environment, adapting for when users move from standing still into a walk or run. It’s even possible to both jump and crawl using this system. A video of the tech working with the Oculus Rift can be seen below.
It’s not yet clear what Omnifinity’s plans for the Omnideck 6 are going forward. The tech will be showcased at the I/ITSEC simulation and training conference on 1st – 5th December 2014. Could it be sold for consumers like other VR treadmills? VRFocus will continue to follow the tech’s progress, reporting back with any further updates.