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Production Update and E3 Review

The molds of the base, the Omni’s largest injection mold, and the step-up deck have been completed and are in testing – see a few pictures below! The Omni base will be produced as a single piece. The benefits of this design include improved durability, smoothness, and noise reduction.

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Virtuix continues to finalize the other plastic and metal parts and to ready our motion-sensor electronics for production. Our road map to production remains on track, and we are pressing forward with no hiccups. As soon as we are able to confirm a precise shipping date of your pre-order unit, we will announce a shipping schedule via our update letter.

Virtuix Community Meetup at E3

It was a pleasure to meet all of you who came to visit us either at our E3 community event or during the show. We’re impressed by the diverse background of our community members – ranging from VR enthusiasts who were involved in VR back in the 90’s to science fiction authors. We couldn’t do this without you all, and while we know you are impatiently awaiting your Omnis, we appreciate your continued support. We look forward to meeting you again at future events!

E3 Review

E3 2015 had a record number of booths showcasing VR related content and hardware. More games, more HMDs, and even our friends from Cyberith, whose ODT the ‘Virtualizer’ made its official E3 debut.

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The Omni received rave reviews from press and public who tried out the device – see a few reactions below from our Twitter feed:

We received the Best Technology of E3 Award by MMO Games, who stated that “the Omni delivers one of the most immersive experiences to date.”

Technology Tell wrote that “My hands on experience had me jumping on the proverbial bandwagon” and I had to come by to look at it again since I enjoyed my demo of it so much.”

ABC News compared the Omni with the Virtualizer and reported that the Omni’s concave surface is much easier to walk on.” 

Besides press and public, we met with and demoed the Omni to top executives of Activision, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Sony, and other leaders of the VR and gaming industries. The rave reactions were great to hear and validate our designs and our efforts to date. We can’t wait to ship out our Omnis to each of you and show that walking and running in VR is, without question, a ton more fun than simply sitting down in VR.

FLRB and Leaderboard

We were delighted to premier our FLRB (Forward, Left, Right, Backward) implementation at E3 using the Omni tracking pods. As announced before, in addition to forward motion the Omni allows for and tracks strafing, backwards motion, jumping, and de-coupled movements (i.e., 360-degree walking or running in a direction that is independent from your looking direction). If you missed our demo video before, below is some raw footage by Duane and David of our engineering team showcasing FLRB and full de-coupling on the Omni:

We also trialled our new leaderboard integration at E3 in our updated TRAVR: Training Ops demo. For the first time attendees were given a chance to compete with each other, which transformed the VR experience to an active and social engagement. Shouts of joy were quickly followed by carefully executed shots as initials were proudly entered on the leader board at the end of the demo.

Meanwhile our pro users also took turns competing for the top spot on their system. Kickstarter backer and regular Omni-demonstrator Ben Drakes leveraged his experience to take an early lead on his first run, scoring the fastest time for both Training Ops levels. For a while his early success looked sufficient to capture the win. Ben decided to relax, enjoying the strafing and backwards functionality of the Omni system while the other contenders pushed themselves remorselessly to catch up.

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Ben helping his fellow Omni Pro to towel down.

However, as the last day wore on, and the other pro-users’ mastery of the Omni increased, an epic struggle broke out, with the lead on Level One unexpectedly changing hands several times.  With only a few minutes of the show remaining, Ben found himself breathlessly sprinting through Level One again, needing to shave a couple of seconds off his best time. A failed attempt brought him closer, but with his legs tiring and his signature hydration pack running low on electrolytes (or whatever is in there!) it looked like his reign was about to come to an end. Then, with a sudden change in tactics, Ben opted to pause in the ‘rest areas’ we’d stationed at several parts of the level. With the timer frozen he took deep, ragged breaths and seemed to prepare mentally for the next stretch. It was all or nothing as he emerged through the last portal, and Ben yelled triumphantly when he saw he’d regained the lead. Urged on by the crowd and his fellow Omni Pros, Ben decided to go for one more round and in a shocking climax to our E3 demo, he somehow managed to smash the 40 second barrier, a feat Training Ops designer Cameron Slayter had thought was impossible.

The final E3 leader board is set in stone below. You can also read Ben’s full impression of the event here.

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VR: The Movie

Award-winning filmmaker and producer Zach Jankovic is currently working on “VR: The Movie” – the first ever in-depth film on the history, present and future of VR. Jankovic won awards for his documentaries “Tourette Syndrome: Up Close” and “The Astronaut’s Secret”, and was also responsible for our Kickstarter video. We are excited about his new project, as “VR: The Movie” will paint a complete and compelling picture of VR technology and its many applications that have changed or will change the world. The production team has completed a series of interviews with the leaders and pioneers of the VR space, including Skip Rizzo, Jim Blascovich, Jack Loomis, and some of the “new” pioneers of the recent wave of VR innovation. Launch is scheduled for the Sundance Film Festival next year. If you’d like to learn more about the project and contribute to its fundraiser, check out their page here: http://www.vrthemovie.com/

VR INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS

Community, we hope you enjoyed this update. We believe we have proven at E3 that VR can be fun, social, and engaging beyond the chair. We are as eager as ever to help make VR a successful and enduring medium for interactive gaming, entertainment, and beyond. Please look forward to more good news in the coming months, and head over to our Forums for immediate updates and discussion: http://forum.virtuix.com/

Best regards,

Jan and the Virtuix Team

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