New Virtuix Omni VR prototype ditches camera for capacitive sensors

Yours truly trying to sidestep gracefully using the new, camera-free Omni prototype.

When Ars’ own Lee Hutchinson and Peter Bright tried out the Virtuix Omni a few months ago, the demo made use of a detached Kinect sensor to track players’ walking and running motions. At CES this week, Virtuix introduced a new camera-free prototype of the device that introduces capacitive panels in the base to detect movement and direction.

There are three rings of capacitive sensors housed underneath the curved floor of the latest Omni prototype, Virtuix Product Manager Colton Jacobs told Ars. These rings radiate out from the center with small gaps in between, so your foot can rest on two sensors at once. When you take a step, the Omni translates the successive pressure moving between these rings to data on the speed of your stride. That data can then be translated into a series of key presses for walking/running/sneaking in legacy games or into analog movement input for games specifically designed to make use of it.

The capacitive rings can also detect analog foot positions in 360 degrees around the unit, allowing games designed with the upcoming Omni SDK in mind to divorce movement direction from the view direction controlled by an Oculus Rift headset. Omni wasn’t showing off this feature (and the somewhat glitchy prototype on the show floor doesn’t even allow for backward steps yet), but Jacobs said an unnamed AAA developer was working on a pack-in game that would show off the SDK and effectively train new owners how to use the device.

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via Ars Technica


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