Vertical Reality

Modifying the Omni for Military Use


Member profile details

Membership level
2013-2014 Team
Project Thumbnail Image
Team Name
Vertical Reality
Project Title
Modifying the Omni for Military Use
Design Challenge
Our goal is to modify the existing Omni to permit vertical mobility. The system must be able to move vertically with the user, specifically to enable crouching, without significantly sacrificing user safety.
Design Summary
Virtual Reality will modify the existing design of the Omni, a virtual reality user interface that pairs with virtual reality goggles like the Oculus Rift and allows the user to control his or her character through real world movements, at the request of Virtuix, the company that developed the original product. This product will then be sold to the military for training purposes.

Our initial design concept addresses the constraints given by Virtuix, including:
1. The product should utilize the base, harness, and center ring from the existing Omni
2. Military users often wear packs such that their total weight is up to 400 lbs
3. Military users can be up to 6’5”
4. Users should be able to move freely to crouch but should still be supported during running, walking, and turning to preserve an immersive experience
5. Most users will carry an M4 and should be able to do so naturally within the Omni

After consulting with Virtuix employees, a military consultant, and our faculty advisor, several design objectives were identified and are listed below in order of importance:
1. Preserve the current turning and running motion
2. Support military users wearing full gear and equipped with an M4
3. Crouching motion must be smooth and uninhibited
4. Support users during running, walking, and turning
5. The device should be comfortable
6. The product should have a 3 year lifetime
7. The final product should not be so large that it cannot be easily transported

Our design concept addresses these objectives while meeting the imposed constraints. Vertical Reality has constructed a proof of concept prototype out of wood, steel poles, and ball bearings to exhibit how the design moves vertically while utilizing the base and center ring from the existing Omni. Our final design has a system that uses reactive forces from springs to negate the weight of the center ring and support the user while running or walking to make the system more immersive. The springs also help bring the ring back up from the crouching position. The design of our Omni has been improved and modified throughout the academic year, and we expect the final device as manufactured by Virtuix to be made of metals like steel and titanium.

Last Updated 4/30/2014
Virtuix, OEDK, and Rice University
Sponsor Logo
  • Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Ed Akin
Faculty Advisor 1 - Department
  • MECH
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Andrew Dick
Faculty Advisor 2 - Department
  • MECH
Media Links
Vertical Reality has not received any attention from mainstream media, but a thread with a photo of us was one of the top links on Reddit in mid-April and garnered over 800,000 views within a day.


Last Updated 4/30/2014

Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


Lead Industry Partners