The best VR omnidirectional treadmills help us move around and explore virtual worlds without limitation.
Behind the Design
Some ODT’s are massive and square with moving slats while others have a concave disc that require special shoes and harness to move around. The OmniPad VR treadmill is built with ball bearings that line the circumference of the circular platform and has a moving tread wrapped around the outside.
It’s built with a mechanism that helps the platform move and rotate in any direction unhindered and has a support structure built around it. The entire thing has a breadth of 6 feet x 6 feet which leaves plenty of room to run, walk, jog, lunge, and skillfully train on it.
Neil Epstein, OmniPad’s CEO and president shares how he came up with the omnidirectional treadmill design. In a statement he says, “I contemplated this obstacle to freedom of VR locomotion for months and years. Then, I was lying in bed one night further toiling with the omnidirectional locomotion surface question, and it dawned on me . . . a water balloon!”
“I realized that when you take a small water balloon, press it firmly between your palms so that the top and bottom surfaces are completely flat, and then motion your hands in opposing circular directions, the flattened water balloon freely revolves in all directions while still remaining completely flat on both sides. Hence, the core mechanics of the OmniPad were born.”
Why Invest in OmniPad?
Per their Wefunder page, OmniPad wants to raise $50,000 to help bring them closer to full construction and production. Funding will also help present the product to companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, and other high-level companies who are already invested in the mobility tech or looking to be.
Whether practicing drills on a virtual field or going through rehabilitation exercises in a virtual simulator, OmniPad is a valuable training machine. VR sports simulators are plentiful and so with this comes an opportunity to maintain those skills using the latest in virtual mobility technologies.
Looking at demonstrations online, the company highlights its potential with military and first responder training, fitness, real estate tours, gaming, and esports. Todd Sedlak, U.S. Army Infantryman and Iraq War Veteran illustrates why this ODT is so necessary for training soldiers.
He says, “For the infantrymen, there is no simulated environment today that can adequately train the soldier. And the main reason that is, is not because there isn’t VR, not because there isn’t AR, not because there aren’t visual simulators, but because there’s no physical simulator.”
Sedlak makes a great point about training the mind and body for muscle memory that’s required for realistic combat training. This can even extend to training new emergency responders and giving them the tools to respond quickly and skillfully to dangerous or high-stress situations that they might experience out in the field.