Growing up in the 80s and 90s, playing video games mainly consisted of sitting on a couch, controllers in hand, and the only things moving were fingers on buttons. There are tons of great games that take advantage of that interaction, but recently we’ve been seeing an outpouring of new input devices and the Virtuix Omni Treadmill is another example.

The difference? This is more of a whole body & mind experience than finger motion detection like on the Leap Motion, or body scanning like with the Xbox Kinect. In this case the player is actually running forward, backward, to the side and so on and the game world is mimicking those same motions. That could open a world of possibilities in terms of fine-tuned control, exercising, and bringing a game world closer to even more of our sense of place and center of being.

So detecting body motion is amazing by itself though arguably Xbox Kinect is already doing that. What really completes this picture is having some sort of virtual reality headset like the Occulus Rift. That adds a last dimension that something like the Xbox Kinect doesn’t cater to right now. Looking in any direction at a virtual world while being able to move without ┬ácaring about what’s around you in real life is really close to entering another reality, or maybe thinking more creatively, another dimension.

At SYNTH7 we’ll be watching the Virtuix Omni Treadmill with interest, especially when it comes to understanding how we can process input from the hardware in-game. As indie developers we have razor thin resources so it’ll be a combination of listening to our community and a reality check on what it takes to integrate that drives our path forward.

I’m also curious to see how many homes will make room for what (in this dimension) looks like a round treadmill with some special connectors.