Like a lot of Kickstarters, the Virtuix Omni has struggled a bit since it was successfully funded back in the summer of 2013. Development often takes longer than expected, and the Omni was no exception. But now Virtuix has proudly announced its first backer has received the consumer version of the Omni VR treadmill, and more backers will be seeing theirs arrive soon.
If you aren’t familiar, the Virtuix Omni is almost as old as the concepts for modern VR. The 360-degree treadmill fastens users in with a suspension harness, and provides them with special shoes that allow them to run freely on the device in any direction. Combined with a light gun and a VR headset — any headset will do, — it becomes an immediately more immersive, participatory experience. Yet the device also keeps the user in one place, so he or she doesn’t run fulls-speed into the nearest bookshelf.
The first Omni in the wild belongs to Fred Wood, a VR enthusiast and early-adopter who backed the Virtuix Omni on the very first day of its crowd-funding campaign. At a small gathering at his house, representatives from Virtuix delivered and set up the treadmill. But he’s not the only one who will be running around in virtual worlds soon.
Virtuix will follow up this distribution with another 50 units that will be sent to early bird backers and partners after CES in January. After that round is fulfilled, Virtuix will ship another round of 4,000 units that will go out to the majority of the backers for the original Kickstarter campaign.
It’s not too late to claim one, either. For just $699 a pop, users can pre-order their very own Virtuix Omni for when the retail units begin shipping sometime next year. You won’t see it as soon as the Kickstarter backers will, but hopefully you’ll have a Rift or HTC Vive in your hands to hold you over until you do.
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