July has been a busy and productive month for Virtuix. The first injection molded plastic parts are coming out of our Omni molds – see a montage of our first Omni base test shots below. Work is now ongoing to complete the molds for the ring, struts, and the metal components of the Omni. Everything is moving along nicely, with no unpleasant surprises.
Below is some footage of our final ring door. In addition to being stronger and of high quality, an ‘auto-open’ design of the ring reminds users to lock it securely before use. Safety first!
The following video demonstrates our final height adjustment mechanism, which is sturdy and easier to use than before (you can even operate the mechanism blindfolded). You’ll also notice that we increased the clearance of the strut base for the player’s feet, so that we can accommodate our tallest Omni users!
ChinaJoy and VRLA
We were fortunate to be invited by a partner to ChinaJoy 2015 in Shanghai, the largest digital entertainment expo in Asia (similar to E3, but bigger). Our showcasing of the Omni in Shanghai this weekend is our first demonstration of the Omni outside of the US and Europe, and we hope we will get the same incredibly positive reactions we have enjoyed at past expos. China has a thriving games industry, and the enthusiasm for virtual reality may be even bigger than anywhere else.
Virtuix was excited to meet the nice folks of KATVR whose omnidirectional treadmill – the ‘KATWALK’, is fast approaching its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter – we hope they reach their goal this weekend. See a picture below of team leads Kyle and Kaye visiting our booth. We were able to try out the KATWALK and came away very pleased! With successful VR treadmills coming out of America, Europe and now Asia it’s becoming clear that ODT locomotion in virtual reality is not a fad but a must for fun, active VR – something we at Virtuix have believed in passionately for years, and which you have voiced as well by supporting our project.
On August 29th Virtuix will be delighted to attend VRLA in Los Angeles, which is one of the premier VR meetups in the US. VRLA will be our last public appearance before we start shipping later this year. Tickets sell out fast, so we encourage anyone who would like to try the Omni ahead of our launch to book early to avoid disappointment: http://www.virtualrealityla.com/
To avoid long lines, we will employ the same Omni Pass system we used at E3 with designated time slots for our community members. Stay tuned on how to book a time slot to try out the Omni!
New Office – Austin, Texas
In July Virtuix moved all our current US-based staff in Houston and Austin into a single office in Austin. The move is an exciting milestone for Virtuix and will streamline our operations while enabling us to work faster and more efficiently. Our new office also houses our expanding game development team that is focused on delivering exciting Omni content that will keep you running and gunning in VR when you receive your Omni. We have shown TRAVR: Training Ops (our VR speed shooter) and TRAVR: Shadow Ops (our linear storyline shooter) at previous events, and we are working on one additional TRAVR game to be announced in the near future!
Some minor disarray as installation work continues around us
A few of our talented game developers
The Omni fridge – essential for keeping the team’s energy levels up!
The (partial) Virtuix Team
Community, we were distressed to learn that on July 5th our friend and colleague Lorenzo Adams was involved in a car accident. He is recovering from surgery, but has suffered debilitating injuries to his right side, including a bruised lung, fractured pelvis, and a broken leg and ankle.
Some of you may be familiar with Lorenzo, who goes by the nickname ‘ModMan’ on our forums. He has spearheaded our social media outreach and can often be seen giving interviews at tradeshows. The picture above shows him trying out the Hands Omni prototype from a recent update.
Lorenzo is a valued friend and team-member at Virtuix, and we have all missed his presence at the office. As you can imagine he is devastated by these injuries, which will prevent him from using the Omni for some months, including our upcoming launch.
Regrettably, Lorenzo had not opted to take out healthcare insurance at the time of his accident, and is now faced with substantial medical bills, so we have decided to launch a fundraiser for him.
If you would like to contribute, please follow the link below. With the YouCaring platform every donation helps immediately and is greatly appreciated, even if the target amount isn’t reached.
Thank you for your kindness – we will be sure to pass on any best wishes to Lorenzo, and keep you posted on his progress.
VR INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS
- Oculus has acquired Israeli gesture recognition firm Pebbles Interfaces, who is developing an optical sensor system to detect and track hand movements.
- Google has confirmed that over 1.1 million Google Cardboard displays have been distributed to date.
- Nokia is stepping into VR through the announcement of its “OZO” 3D VR camera aimed at the professional market.
- DirectTV has announced plans to enter the VR race, with a focus on sports and music.
- Dave & Buster’s is hosting its first VR arcade game, a wireless, optically tracked system created by VRCade.
- The NFL is venturing further into the VR space. Verizon launched an NFL virtual reality experience, and the Patriots plan to enhance practice with virtual reality technology.
Community, thank you for your continued patience, and we look forward to sharing more developments with you next month.
Jan and the Virtuix Team