Virtual Reality With a Treadmill: The Next Step in VR Gaming

As virtual reality technology progresses, it’s easier than ever to enter immersive virtual worlds that feel almost like real life. You can see in three dimensions with a VR headset, and you can hear things going on around you from all directions. But the one thing you haven’t been able to do is move your feet as you would in real life: You can jump or lean, but if you try to use your whole body to walk or run, you’re going to run into something in the real world and hurt yourself. Headset manufacturers have created systems to help keep users within a safe playing area, but it’s still possible to run into objects around you. Meanwhile, “walking” in VR without actually moving your feet takes away from the realism of the virtual reality experience. But now, the invention of the VR omnidirectional treadmill is helping to take the immersion of VR to the next level.

VR treadmills pair with VR equipment

What Is a VR Treadmill?

A VR treadmill is a device that allows the user to walk in a way that feels natural while remaining in one place. These aren’t like the traditional treadmills used for exercising: Rather, they use a combination of a slippery platform, special shoes, movement sensors, and a tether at the user’s waist to allow the user to walk as they naturally would in any direction without actually going anywhere. The movement sensors send data to a computer that converts it to gestures inside the virtual environment, allowing the user to walk or run and feel like they’re really walking or running in the virtual world.

Can I Buy a Virtual Reality Treadmill for My Home?

Although virtual reality with a treadmill has long been limited to large spaces and commercial environments, a few brands are slowly making it possible for people to buy these devices for home use.

Virtuix Omni VR treadmill

Virtuix Omni

The Virtuix Omni One offers unrestricted freedom of movement and is designed to be small enough to fit into any room in your home. It has a 4-foot diameter and comes with a VR headset that doesn't need a PC or cable to work.

Kat Walk

The Virtuix Omni One offers unrestricted freedom of movement and is designed to be small enough to fit into any room in your home. It has a 4-foot diameter and comes with a VR headset that doesn't need a PC or cable to work.

The VR treadmill price for both of these options is fairly steep, but for huge fans of virtual reality gaming who would also like to get exercise in while they play, VR with a treadmill can be a great investment in both health and entertainment.

VR Games to Play With a Treadmill

You can play any existing VR game with a treadmill if it supports free locomotion. Some top-rated games to play with an omnidirectional treadmill include:

  • Elite Force
  • The Exorcist: Legion VR
  • VRZ Torment
  • Nature Treks
  • Affected: The Manor
  • Vindicta

As more omnidirectional treadmills become available for personal use, it’s likely that more games will be designed with this technology in mind.