Could the VUE VR treadmill really be the future of the treadmill?
In 2012, Palmer Luckey put together a Kickstarter campaign to bring a VR headset to reality. Back then, the campaign was looking to raise US$250,000 – it did well raising US$2.4 million. Needless to say, its success brought an influx of startup companies with VR products that promised to add to the realistic immersion. The Oculus Rift VR headset was born as a result of the funds raised by Palmer, who later went on to sell to Facebook for a cool US$2 billion!
The Virtuix Omni and later it’s clone the Cyberith Virtualizer treadmills were introduced where you were uncomfortably strapped into what looked like a baby walker for adults, had to wear endless sensors around your legs and wear a specially designed pair of frictionless shoes or booties to cover your shoes for the Virtualizer.
In addition to being extremely hard work physically, the expereince was said to lack that of your natural movement and motion and plain simply not enjoyable.
The VUE VR Treadmill is a little different from it predecessors (although the low-friction shoes are still necessary).
The VUE VR Treadmill allows you to walk, run, sit, crouch, and go backwards naturally in virtual reality games and simulations. Its concave platform enables a smooth, natural gait and an immersive walking and running motion with two belts providing maximum safety and stability.
If you’re still struggling with the ‘treadmill’ part of this, I have to say now that there is no ‘belt’ that you normally associate with a treadmill. The walking or running motion are achieved by the combination of the concave platform and the shoes which have low-friction wheels that stabilise the foot.
The ‘player’ can walk and run freely with hand and arm moving naturally, with no obstacles in the way when putting on VR Headset and playing in the virtual reality world with a ‘free rotation’ part providing 360-degree freedom of movement allowing you to control your avatar without restraints – no cumbersome straps or sensors on your legs.
With a decoupled head and body movement, so you can move and look in different locations simultaneously, the VUE VR Treadmill ‘smart speed’ recognises the speed of your movement and changes the pace in the game to reflect it.
The VUE VR Treadmill is designed to accommodate a player height ranging from 142cm-195cm, and a weight up to 130kg. Fully assembled, the VUE VR Treadmill platform is 123cm wide , 220cm long, and 240cm high.
The VUE VR Treadmill unit is priced well (compared to other units) at US$699 or around AU$960. The unit can be shipped to Australia for between $135-$270 (depending on your state). Included in the package is:-
- 1 VUE VR platform
- 1 pair of shoes
- 1 pair of VUR VR Tracking Device and tracking software (for the shoes)
- 1 year limited warranty
- A few Oculus Rift games
So, is the VUE VR Treadmill the treadmill of the future or as we move closer to the immersive VR world, is it in fact the future of fitness? At the moment, unless your a gym owner looking to recruit your local ‘gamer geeks’ (who are loving this tech) for a kind-of-a-workout on the VUE VR, it’s not the future of the treadmill. The future of fitness? Well, I have to say that getting a gamer of his or her chair and ‘moving’ is a giant step in the right direction in terms of increasing physical activity. So I’ll say that it’s maybe ‘the future of a gamers fitness’ and leave it at that!