Kat VR, the China-based company known for kickstarting its original Kat Walk VR treadmill in 2015, is once again returning to the crowdfunding platform to launch a new product later this month, this time serving up a VR treadmill called ‘Kat Walk C’ that promises to appeal to at-home consumers.

Kat Walk C appears to be a slimmed-down version of the company’s 2018-era Kat Walk Mini treadmill, offering its signature low-friction parabola and equally slippy footwear, making for a slick surface that simulates walking whilst in VR.

A rear-mounted vertical harness lets you stand and crouch, and keeps you in place while walking, running, or strafing, the company says.

Kat VR says its latest VR treadmill offers what it calls “natural walking posture support,” which if true would be a notable achievement. VR treadmills take time to get used to; the low-friction parabola in conjunction with IMU-based shoe trackers can feel more like pushing yourself through a virtual scene than simply walking normally.

Like its other enterprise-focused VR treadmills, Kat VR says it’s designed Kat Walk C as an “independent controller”, allowing it to work with any SteamVR game with free locomotion on major VR headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Pimax, and Windows VR. The device is also said to be compatible with Oculus Quest via Link, and with PSVR via an additional adapter.

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The Kat Walk C campaign is slated to arrive sometime in late June; early-bird prices are set to start at $700 + delivery fees. There’s no word on what price Kat Walk C will hit once the early bird tiers are all gone though, or what the final MSRP will be when all is said and done.

In any case, it’s encouraging to see Kat VR offering up a more reasonable price point that consumers (or rather prosumers) might actually afford. In 2018, Kat Walk Mini was originally supposed to hit what the company called at the time an “affordable” price point, however the device was revealed to cost $1,500 at its cheapest, and that was with the 50% discount for early bird customers. Kat Walk Mini was subsequently pulled from the crowdfunding platform due to the company securing outside funding.

We’ll be putting out a more in-depth article on the upcoming Kat Walk C Kickstarter campaign, so make sure to check back for more soon.

Update (3:30 PM ET): German VR publication MIXED has created a video including all available gifs of KAT Walk C in action. Check it out below:

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  • drd7of14

    Link?

  • Andrew Jakobs

    What ever happened to the other 2, cyberith or something and the other one I can’t even remember it.

    • Ian Freeman-Yates

      I backed Cyberith. Terrible mistake.
      They had a great product, but totally mismanaged the funds. When the treadmill was finished, they couldn’t afford to send out the rewards so sent a poor apology and went silent.
      Apparently, they’re trying to sell or licence their treadmill and then we’ll get our “rewards”.
      Last time I used Kickstarter

    • flamaest

      I think the other one you might be referring to is made by virtuix which is actually a fairly well-run company. I own that unit after waiting three years to have it delivered. it works as designed, but the company has failed to support the system long-term for home users and has changed gears to the commercial sector. if you were lucky enough to receive one, there are small groups of software developers that support it, but I I think it will eventually stop working as support for the hardware will cease. If something breaks on it, you’re pretty much SOL.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Yes, virtuix is the other one I meant.
        Ah, that’s not a good thing to hear about the product,

        • John G

          Agreed with flamaest. The product is well made, but the software is useless.

          I even bought Arizona Sunshine – which has native support for the Omni, but it turns out the version you buy does NOT have that support built in. You have to buy the commercial version of Arizona Sunshine. So I asked Virtuix if they could get us a copy – BECAUSE I ALREADY PAID FOR IT. Nope. I’d have to upgrade to the $3k package or more to get the software that I already paid for to work with the treadmill I already have.

          Useless. So the only software that I found that works with it is the training software, and it’s terrible. You feel like your one of those little kids in a ring smashing into furniture.

          HOWEVER Natural Locomotion just added a mode that will work with feet movement forward/backwards; it’s intended for sitting but I intend to try the Omni out with it soon. If that works, Skyrim/Fallout may be viable. They work fine with “step in place” mode but marching in place, even running in place, isn’t as good exercise as the Omni would be

          == John ==

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Oh that’s real crap, so the Arizone Sunshine that works is only available in their more expensive version of the omni… That’ll help them to get users to buy their crap… NOT!..

  • This looks great!

  • James Cobalt

    KatVR doesn’t have a good track record with their kickstarter campaigns. Last I checked on their first one, it had been a couple years and most people still hadn’t received their reward. Not to mention, many reviewers said they still felt extremely unnatural physically, and foot motion didn’t fully correlate to VR locomotion.

    • I tried one out at a state fair a few years back, and it was a terrible experience. The article above only got it half right, it definitely didn’t feel like walking in VR, more like sliding around on ice in vr. the shoes they made you wear were so low friction that I literally couldn’t stand still on it. I have great VR legs normally, but I almost wanted to throw up after the demo. not to mention it was some low budget super hero shooter/street walking sim they were demoing with it, which was terrible too.

      • James Cobalt

        I tried the Virtuix model and it was the exact same experience. I was too sick to continue just a couple minutes in.

        • John G

          Agreed. I have a Virtuix … I drank the Kool-aid. It’s essentially unusable, as opposed to using Natural Locomotion. Using that is very crisp, and there’s an exact correspondence between where your foot is when stepping and when you move, so it feels “Real”.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Oh, would be nice if they would support Kinect (xbox 360) or regular webcams..

          • D-_-RAiL

            I would love to see a Kinect like device for full body tracking.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            And kinect already does that, just need some games/applications to actually support it.

          • Chels J

            It’s my understanding that most vr treadmills work by emulating a joystick interface, which you really can’t put very precise with. A quick question, do you have full body tracking (foot trackers specifically) as well? I’ve wanted to toy with a better solution for a while, but I haven’t found anyone with the right hardware yet.

    • User_Name_24601

      Agreed. I had the same issue on the one our office purchased. Less than stellar. And the special shoes just didn’t feel great.

  • Blaexe

    Now show me a sudden change of direction while running full speed.

  • Bob

    These sort of treadmills are absolute rubbish because they don’t translate your walking movements very well into the virtual space and on top of that it feels incredibly unnatural to the point where immersion is actually harmed.

    In almost all of the cases you’re better off using traditional full locomotion. At least until a full active omni-directional treadmill is released to the mass market (the Infinideck is dead in the water at the moment).

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Oh that’s a shame to hear about the infinideck.

  • Another one? I don’t get why these companies just don’t target and enterprises and LBVRs with this and keep asking money on Kickstarter

  • blue5peed

    I want to be positive, crouching looks uncomfortable and you definitely can’t go prone so its a trade off. It could be fun I guess, you could take a stroll though skyrim, probably not the most practical thing ever but I’ll wait for the reviews.

  • John Mclain

    I’ve been wanting to buy an omni-directional treadmill for vr for years now, since it could actually replace my traditional treadmill for exercise. (A year of playing skyrim VR and I’d likely be able to compete in the olympics :P ) But sadly all of them so far have ended up being half-baked prototypes that are just not practical at all.

  • MW

    Hmm… Big, expensive, noisy, and only for walking/running. I don’t understand why developers are not going to full body tracking. Sensors on belt and feet will add so much to immersion. Right now on all VR systems you are floating head. I think body tracking is cheaper and easier to achieve than treadmill-?

    • Blaexe

      Currently (high quality) FBT is optional, expensive and bothersome to use. Which means very few people use it and that means next to zero software support.

      All of these three things have to be solved first, and that will take some time.

  • mepy

    Infinadeck is what we need, just not a 500Kg version, but something that can be actually carried into a home. Can’t be that impossible to engineer a cheaper and lighter version, can it?

  • Leon

    I wish valve made an official treadmill.

    • Aaron Benjamin

      not sure you want that with how the development of the knuckles went. That treadmill would break very often.

  • JesperL

    Looks like crap.
    First off, it does not look to support a 120 kg guy like me.
    Second, I HATE RUNNING MYSELF :D
    Thats probably why im 120 kg lol..
    Third, it looks unnatural as hell, being strapped in, and walking/running.
    I dont think mainstream VR works well with threadmills. Too bulky, too expensive, too demanding :D

  • LowRezSkyline

    Yeah I backed their katVR-Loco campaign and right before they shipped they hit everyone up for 30 bucks for shipping.

    I didn’t even bother installing it after it finally arrived. My friend that also backed it said it added a ton of crap you can’t uninstall to his machine, and once he got it working it wasn’t worth the trouble. I was lucky enough to unload mine on ebay last week. I’ll never back these guys again and I would highly recommend not doing so.

    • John G

      It could be worse, Omni hit us up for a lot, lot more in shipping.

      Still, mechanically it’s very well made, and the thing came on a pallet, so I could see the extra charge, but it was irritating.

      What’s worse is the software.

      == John ==

  • Moe Curley

    I’ve never seen a good review of the types of devices, even the high end omnidirectional active ones haven’t worked out https://www.tested.com/tech/concepts/826335-hands-vr-omnidirectional-treadmill/. And I see no way that you could strafe on this.

    • Bob

      Because the technology isn’t there yet.

      All the big players in the industry haven’t really started work on these sort of treadmills; at least not yet. Once they do problems will be solved very quickly

      As the market becomes more saturated and virtual reality becomes a good part of the majority of ordinary people’s lives, locomotion through a system using your legs will not come anytime soon.

      I predict the first product to market by 2024.

  • Topper Nimble

    All I can say is.. I am glad companies are trying to get to the perfect Ready Player One experience! Keep it up and am excited to see great solutions for VR now and in the future!

  • RockstarRepublic

    Good direction but still too expensive for what it is.