There have been a number of efforts to make movement in virtual reality (VR) experiences more immersive, from consumer entry-level versions like 3dRudder to high-end omnidirectional treadmills such as KAT VR or the Virtuix Omni. While the high-end versions call themselves omnidirectional treadmills they tend to be more like very smooth dishes, which can take some getting used to. Now OmniPad has appeared with a circular treadmill design, seeking investment to make it a reality.
OmniPad wants to allow VR users whether they are gamers or enterprise users, to walk, run and jog naturally in VR in any direction, unlocking the full potential of VR for entertainment and training purposes. The OmniPad utilizes a ball-bearing encrusted omnidirectional platform that supports a flattened spherical, revolving treadmill track. The OmniPad platform enables the locomotion surface to freely revolve endlessly, in any direction.
“Being a professional 3D animator for over 25 years, and having worked on very high-end virtual reality projects, the challenge of ‘how to enable 360-degree locomotion on a stationary surface‘ is a question that burned in my mind since the late 1990’s. I contemplated this obstacle to freedom of VR locomotion for months and years. Then, I was lying in bed one night further toiling with the omnidirectional locomotion surface question, and it dawned on me . . . a water balloon!” said Neil Epstein, OmniPad’s CEO and president. “I realized that when you take a small water balloon, press it firmly between your palms so that the top and bottom surfaces are completely flat, and then motion your hands in opposing circular directions, the flattened water balloon freely revolves in all directions while still remaining completely flat on both sides. Hence, the core mechanics of the OmniPad were born.”
To help bring the project to life OmniPad has launched a SEC regulation crowdfunding equity campaign on WeFunder, which has already raised $17,308 USD out of a minimum $50,000 target in its current funding round – a round in December 2017 saw the company initially raise $618,279.
While an omnidirectional treadmill may seem to be a bit extravagant it’s one of those accessories that could be become essential for VR immersion in the future. As OmniPad continues development, VRFocus will keep you updated.