Kick, Don’t Click, Say Game Device Manufacturers

Picture Source: Game Gavel and Jan Goetgeluk (Wikimedia Commons)

You’ll be able to use your body to control any game from next January if a project that’s achieved Kickstarter funding stays on schedule.

The Omni is a platform on which you stand and then move your feet to control the on-screen player. The technology is actually in a pair of special shoes which have sensors to track direction, height and speed, meaning you can walk, run or jump (albeit on the spot).

The platform itself is concave and has grooves that hook up to pins on the soles of the feet to stop you falling. There’s also a smaller circle around your waist to stop you getting over-excited and running at your TV, which can be adjusted to fit anyone between 4’8″ and 6’5″. You’ll also need to be no more than 285lbs to safely use it.

The platform is four feet in diameter, though you can disassemble it when you aren’t using it.

The device is compatible with Kinect technology and will also work with the Oculus Rift, a forthcoming virtual reality helmet. In both cases, games have to be specially written to use those technologies

However, the Omni platform is also designed to work with any game on any console or PC by mapping particular foot movements to specific keyboard or gamepad commands, though obviously some will be a better fit than others.

The project hit its Kickstarter funding target of $150,000 in a matter of hours and is currently approaching $650,000 with more than seven weeks to go. The makers, Virtuix, say they’ve already produced working prototypes using materials such as wood, steel and aluminum. The money will help manufacture the real thing using more practical and attractive materials such as injection-molded plastic.

Final retail pricing isn’t confirmed, but initial backers are paying around $399 for a ready-assembled kit including one pair of shoes in your chosen size (extra pairs are $49.) Shipping is custom-priced but will be around $60-90 in the US.

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