A friendly reminder for those with cable TV: tonight the Virtuix Omni omnidirectional treadmill for VR gaming will be on Shark Tank, a venture capital reality show.

The Shark Tank Virtuix Omni episode airs tonight, December 6th, at 9PM EST (8PM CST / 7PM MST / 6PM PST) on ABC. You can watch Shark Tank live online on ABC, provided you have a participating cable provider, if you aren’t near a TV. If you miss the episode, you should be able to catch the episode on the Hulu Shark Tank page sometime after it airs.

See All Virtuix Omni News

Here are the details from our previous article:

Virtuix Omni, the forthcoming VR omnidirectional treadmill, will be making an appearance on ABC’s popular venture capital reality show, Shark Tank.

For those who haven’t seen the show, Shark Tank puts entrepreneurs in front of a panel of wealthy investors in the hopes that they’ll be able to make an on-the-spot investment deal.

In a surprise to us, the Virtuix Omni will make an appearance on the show next Friday, December 6th.

In a preview of the forthcoming episode shown at the end of last week’s episode, we see Virtuix CEO Jan Goetgeluk and what appears to be investor Robert Herjavec in the Omni donning the Oculus Rift and that ever-flattering harness:

virtuix omni shark tank vr treadmill 2

Virtuix appears to have been completely silent about their involvement with the show (likely due to an NDA) so we won’t know if they made a deal or not until the episode airs next Friday, December 6th at 9PM EST.

Last week I had a chance to meet up with Virtuix CEO Jan Goetgeluk and try out the Omni for myself.

What we can infer thus far is that the system shown above is the pre-production Omni prototype which is still using the Kinect for leg tracking. Virtuix says that their forthcoming capacitive tracking system will significantly increase tracking quality. One other thing is certain: assuming nothing goes terribly wrong, this is a great step for VR into mainstream consciousness.

Virtuix has thus far raised funding for Omni production through its highly successful Kickstarter, which raised $1.1 million, and is now offering pre-orders through its website.

Will the Sharks be able to see through the Kinect’s sloppy tracking? Do you think Virtuix walked away with an investment?

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • steinhk

    The Omni looks cool and all, and it’s a great idea – but: In reality it’s nothing more than an inverted trash can lid with a harness, and some slippy shoes with a spike in the middle. They’ve programmed a kinect camera to translate leg movement into a “w” keyboard press, but that’s not supposed to be in the final version, so it really doesn’t count. I find it strange that so few people questions what the “forthcoming capacitive tracking system” will be like. The whole premise for the Omni is based on technology they do not (yet) have. So far I’ve found no information on how this tracking system will work, how expensive it will be, how many sensors need to be attached to the walking surface, how to program for it, etc. Sure – in theory it doesn’t sound that difficult to manufacture, but until I see an actually working prototype – Oculus had that when they launched their Kickstarter campaign – I’ll keep my money safely in my pocket. The Omni in it’s present stage is like a promise of a hover car without the actual hover system, just a car with a cool paint job jacked up on poles. I’ll stand corrected though, if someone can present a link to more precice information on this tracking system.

    • deadering

      Well it’s probably a good thing you are keeping your money as it’s pretty clear you’ve done close to zero research.

      To humor you though they have confirmed they will be using a form of capacitive sensors in the dish, the price is clearly stated on their website for preorder ($450 at the moment), they very clearly have a working prototype you mentioned yourself because the final product will still feature kinect tracking options, and they have detailed how you can develop for it and how you can configure it from default to simulate different keys and mouse tracking.

      I think we should all be glad the Sharks did not get their teeth into this. Who knows how many corners would have been cut and how expensive it would end up being.

  • steinhk

    True, I haven’t done that much research, just some. I’ll insert a quote from the Nov 15 interview by this very site:

    “Currently, Virtuix is using a Kinect to do rudimentary leg tracking on the Omni. There’s no variable movement speed, no independent look/walk direction, and then there’s the sloppy tracking that Kinect is known for. The Kinect is soon to be discarded in favor of Virtuix’s own custom capacitive tracking solution, which the company says will fix all of the aforementioned Kinect woes.”

    This kind of collides with your statement that the final product will still feature kinect tracking options, so it’s no wonder I get confused. Also – the Omni website, extensive as it may be, is very void of information on this tracking system. The site states that “…the Omni will come with integrated tracking hardware and software. You do not need a Kinect.” and “we are developing an integrated tracking solution”. A recent demonstration video I saw (don’t remember where) where the presenter said – with Jan on the Omni in the background – that the current tracking system is based on Kinect, in the future there will be available Xbox One kinect with higher resolution, and – quote – “who knows”. That’s the clue here. Who knows? More confusing information. Can you clearly tell if it comes with a Kinect or not? Because I can’t, and I don’t want it with Kinect.

    My point is: The tracking system is the very heart of the Omni – without it, I can’t see how it can work. What would the Oculus be without it’s tracking system? I’ve seen a video or two of the device in action, and the concensus seems to be that it will be awesome when the Kinect is replaced with a proper tracking system. I asked the same question on the Omni forum, and Jan replied that they have a working prototype which will be reveiled in a short period of time, but stays secret so far due to fear of copy cats. So secret, it seems, that even the sharks were not allowed to see it… It is reassuring to hear that it will eventually be revealed. As I see it – the only evidence there is of this capacitive system, is Jan’s word of it’s existence. Given how aggressively these are presold, with Holiday Sales and all, it would be foolish of Omni to say anything else than that this mystery system will eventually appear. For my part, I don’t trust just words – I need more palpable proof before I throw down this kind of money. To be clear – I want an Omni just as much as you do. But for now – I’ll view this the same way I view most of the mails in my spambox, the ones that promise instant wealth and what not – with a fair bit of scepticism.

  • Runewell

    I think we will end up using STEM controllers and packs as default methods for control and positioning. Excluding exercise there is very little reason you would want to truly run long distances in a game. Most of the benefits of come in short-distance movement and body language such as looking around a room, hiding behind a nearby object, or communicating in a natural manner with other nearby individuals or NPCs. The stem packs can replicate such movements far more accurately than an omni-directional treadmill. When it comes to runnings long distances that’s where the controller would come in. To me the key will be real room awareness so you can reposition yourself in the center of the room if you get near the boundaries. This would need an external camera to keep track of your body position and software to overlay a wireframe of your boundaries to your headset so you know where to stand.