In the past 12 months, a number of exciting VR products have completed successful Kickstarter campaigns and are making their way to market. This month’s Silicon Valley VR conference, or SVVR in short, was a great testament to the pipeline of extraordinary products and teams that are working hard to bring our VR dreams to life. This realization is made possible by you, our VR community, who relentlessly continue to support us start-ups in our journey to create our part of the ultimate VR experience. Virtuix remains humbled by the continued support we receive every day, and we realize how fortunate we are to have received your trust to deliver on this dream. Our desire to meet and exceed your expectations pushes us every day to get up early and work late. Unfortunately, Kickstarter products can be plagued with delays. These delays often result from our optimistic desire and eagerness to over-promise and get products ready quickly, which often does not mesh well with the reality of a mass manufacturing process. A typical product development cycle can take anywhere between one and two years. Our product is no different, and as you are probably guessing, this month’s update will have some good and some disappointing news.
Our manufacturing team in China continues to work day and night in order to start production and get the Omni into your hands. We had hoped to start tooling earlier this month, but the mechanism that allows for an easy height adjustment of the support ring was not functioning to our expectations and needed refinement. This mechanism is complex to manufacture, partially because the support arms of the Omni are angled. The production team has already made changes to the design to allow for a smooth and effortless height adjustment with simple handle actuation underneath the ring, without any risk of jamming.
The production team will have the updated version ready for our visit to China in a few weeks, at which time we plan to sign off and start tooling, which will take an estimated eight weeks. We regret this hiccup will push our production and delivery schedule to later this summer (end of Q3 / early Q4). We will be sure to keep everyone closely updated.
While delays are painful for all of us, we are committed to not cutting any corners, and in the end we want to impress our backers, customers, and the VR community. We have even been working on a few exciting additions that will be revealed in due time. Please bear with us as we bring an incredible product to market.
Flexible Support Ring R&D
While the manufacturing team is driving production of the consumer Omni forward, we continue to research and develop new ways where we can improve and expand upon the Omni’s functionality. One recurring request is the desire to crouch with the Omni.
Virtuix developed a prototype that demonstrates this crouching functionality – see the demo video below. Note that this prototype is extremely clunky, and not close to any product we would ever release to market. We are still investigating how to make this functionality available to our customers. While crouching is not difficult to achieve mechanically, adding these moving parts would increase the cost structure of the product significantly (far beyond the reach of our current price point). Not to mention the reliability and maintenance headaches that typically accompany moving parts. That being said, perhaps a good-looking variation of this moveable upper structure could one day be available as a high-end upgrade?
Online Omni Gaming with CS: GO
We released a cool new demo video this past month – Counter Strike: Global Offensive! The Omni is not an impediment to performing well in online games, and can even offer gamers an advantage. Our own Steve Geloneck achieved the top three spots in each game. The Omni enables you to move about the virtual battlefield in a more realistic manner with concentration and purpose, transforming the game to a more tactical and realistic experience. Check out our video below:
Past and Upcoming Events
First and foremost, congratulations to the SVVR (“Silicon Valley Virtual Reality”) team for organizing a top-notch inaugural SVVR Conference. Every company in our emerging VR space was in attendance. Virtuix was a lead sponsor of the event, and Jan spoke on the panel regarding input and locomotion in VR. See a recap here:
Virtuix is currently preparing for E3, where we will show a new demo (“Amsterdam By Night”) highlighting the capabilities of VR and the Omni for virtual tourism.
We will also continue to show our demo game TRAVR: Shadow Ops, which is still one of the most immersive VR experiences for many of us. If you missed our trailer, be sure to check it out:
Come see us at booth #5530 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 10-12!
While our monthly updates might not come as frequently as everyone would hope, we encourage you to join our forums and engage with our team directly. Jan, Dev_Guy_Robert, ModMan (Lorenzo), Mjo (Megan), OmniPlayerOne (Colton), and SmoothOperator (Steve) are all eager to engage with you. Our new forum is bustling with tons of interesting conversations regarding virtual reality and the Omni. Partake in the discussions and be the first to get Virtuix updates by signing up: http://forum.virtuix.com/ .
Thank you again for joining us on this journey – we have come a long way and hit a few bumps on the road, but the payoff is near. We can’t wait to show and deliver our final product to you. The future of virtual reality is brighter than ever, with exciting new products nearing completion and new games and experiences emerging every day. Soon we’ll be entering a new world. Stay tuned as we keep everyone closely updated during the final leg of our trip.
Jan and the Virtuix team