Eric Johnson

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Sitting on the Couch Is So 2013. Now You Can Run in Place While You Play Videogames!

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We all know that one person who swears by a treadmill desk. Now, here comes the treadmill videogame running … thing.

The Omni treadmill is a four-foot tall, 110-pound, 360-degree treadmill that translates users’ walking, running, jumping and crouching into in-game motion, purportedly “in any game or app that uses keyboard input.” Its creators, Virtuix, raised $1.1 million for the Omni on Kickstarter in a campaign that wrapped last month, and now it’s available for preorders online.

The Omni is designed to be paired with the Oculus Rift, the virtual-reality gaming headset that is currently only available as a $300 prototype “dev kit”, intended for game developers. The combination of the Rift (sold separately), the Omni treadmill, harness, tracking hardware and software and special running shoes is said to let gamers run around in 3-D game worlds by actually running, rather than using a boring old controller or keyboard.

(So far, the Rift is only confirmed to be compatible with PC games — not mobile or console — acting as a special controller/interface hybrid for those games rather than a console itself. It appears the Omni is yet another control layer on top of that).

Technological monstrosity, or a taste of the future? If you’re more inclined toward the latter way of thinking, one Omni, with everything except the Oculus Rift, will set you back $500, while a “Dual Pack,” including two of the treadmills plus accessories and an extra pair of shoes, currently costs $1,019. Shipping is extra for a yet-to-be-determined price, with both preorder packages estimated for March 2014 delivery.

Hat tip to Engadget for pointing this out on Friday. Virtuix’s original Kickstarter video for the Omni and a video of the treadmill in action (keep your eye on the guy in the bottom right) are embedded below:

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