Omni Meets Oculus Rift, Creates “Mind Blowing Experience”

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We last reported on the Virtuix Omni hybrid VR device in our exclusive interview with company CEO Jan Goetgeluk, where he showed off the current prototype and explained what makes the device such a “mind blowing” experience. Recently the company, who has close ties with Worldviz and Oculus, released a demonstration video of the treadmill VR device working in tandem with the Oculus Rift (seen below).

The two together is a “true VR experience” Goetgeluk recently described to us as “magical.” 

It is exciting to know that the major players in the VR market are really working together to unite the technology and create the best possible experience for the end user — this could be something the “big 3″ might be able learn a thing or two from. Goetgeluk tells us that although their are no official partnerships, Virtuix maintains a close relationship with both Worldviz and Oculus in order to further the development of VR tech as a whole. “We are all bringing different pieces to the same puzzle. We need to make sure all these pieces fit together,” Goetgeluk explains.

Bringing the Rift together with the natural motion of the Omni really adds a lot of immersion according to Goetgeluk “but also highlights the need for a natural motion interface.”  This is where the Omni comes in — a true VR experience should be just that, “sitting down and pushing buttons is not sufficient for good VR; moving naturally greatly enhances the experience.”

In the video below, we see the latest prototype of the Omni in action being used with the Rift to play TF2. The latest prototype includes enhancements to the special low-friction shoes required to use the Omni as well as improvements to the base in order to prevent rocking. Instead of needing to use Kinect for gestures, the Virtuix CEO tells us that the team is “developing a fully integrated natural motion interface” that he says is “absolutely necessary for a good VR experience.”

For more on what the Omni is capable of  be sure to check out the full exclusive interview with Jan Goetgeluk below and head over to the now officially launched Virtuix.com. You can check out some images of the latest Omni prototype in the gallery below as well.

JHS: Can you give us a brief breakdown of some of the additions that have been made to the most recent Omni prototype?

Jan Goetgeluk: We have updated our prototype in the last couple of weeks: better support underneath to prevent rocking, better shoes that enable a natural gait, and a better support belt that provides more stability and comfort. Mainly small changes that make a big impact. We are also exploring different ways to integrate tracking into the Omni, so that users don’t need a Microsoft Kinect. We are developing a fully integrated natural motion interface. That is absolutely necessary for a good VR experience.

JHS: Can you tell us some of the specific ways in which the Rift enhances the experience with Omni?

JG: The Omni together with the Rift is a magical experience. The Rift creates great immersion, but also highlights the need for a natural motion interface.  Sitting down and pushing buttons is not sufficient for good VR; moving naturally greatly enhances the experience.  The immersion of physically walking around in a game is mind blowing.  The Omni with Rift gives you a true VR experience.

Jan Goetgeluk and Palmer Luckey

JHS: “We were in Southern California last week, visiting with Worldviz and Oculus.  Andrew Beall and Palmer Luckey are two pioneers of the VR revolution.  And supporters of the Omni!” We see the Rift and Omni working great together in the footage below, but can you tell us more about these partnerships and what else COULD come out of them?

We do not have any formal partnership with Oculus or Worldviz, but our VR ecosystem is only now developing (and booming), so it’s good to have close ties.  We are all bringing different pieces to the same puzzle. We need to make sure all these pieces fit together.

JHS: How does the player change weapons and access other more menu-like functions based on what we see in the recent TF2 demo?

In the demo, we use the Cabela’s Top Shot Elite wireless gun, which has plenty of buttons to provide functionality beyond our motion recognition software.  This gun works off-the-shelf with an XBOX USB receiver.

JHS: Can you tell us more about the low-friction shoes? Are you expecting these to ship with the stock, base-model Omni?

Yes, the shoes are a crucial part of the Omni motion interface.  The shoes are designed to make walking on the Omni as natural as possible. Every Kickstarter backer will receive a pair of shoes in his or her size.  You will be able to order additional pairs, if needed.

Goetgeluk left us by saying that “the feedback and response after our last demo (Team Fortress 2) (seen below) has been enormous.  We want to thank our community and following for encouraging us every day to bring the Omni to life.  VR needs natural motion, and that is what we are developing.”