When it comes to physical activity, video gamers usually have a bad, if not stereotypical, reputation for being sloven basement dwellers with doughy hang guts. Yet as virtual reality systems become more affordable for home use, a new gaming platform aims to put a little more fitness into the first-person shooters.
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The Omni is a gaming platform that allows users to stand up and navigate virtual worlds with their own two feet, be it by walking, running or jumping. Its creators say that it's "a healthier way to game," with motion-tracking software that even logs distances traveled and calories burned during game play.
Gamers strap in to a support belt stand inside a safety ring that is affixed to a saucer-shaped octagon about the size of a small table top. This base boasts a low-friction surface with grooves and is key to the Omni's ability to "free gamers from passive, seated game play."
"Users wear special shoes with pins that fit into the grooves, keeping the foot stabilized and preventing unwanted lateral slide," Omni's Kickstarter page explains. "The shoe sole has a higher friction coefficient on the toe to grant further stability and maintain balance. The result for users is a natural gait that allows for true virtual exploration and immersion."