New Device Allows Gamers to Use a Treadmill While Playing

August 8, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. groundbreaking [GROUND-brey-king] (adj.) – creating ideas or methods that have never been used before
Example: The newly introduced groundbreaking device allows the user to control cars using only the mind.

2. crowdfunding [kroud-fuhnd-ing] (n.)  – a method of raising funds for a project by asking a large number of people to contribute a small amount of money
 Example: Many startup companies use crowdfunding to raise funds for new projects.

3. come on the heels of [kuhm on thuh heels uhv] (idiom) – to happen soon after something else happened
Example: The launching of the Microsoft’s Xbox One comes on the heels of Sony’s earlier introduction of the PlayStation 4 gaming console.

4. immersive [ih-MUR-siv] (adj.) – referring to technology that stimulates a number of the body’s senses
Example: The new interactive video game gives an immersive experience for players.

5. frenetic [fruh-NET-ik] (adj.) – highly exciting
Example: While I prefer games that are more relaxed and slow-paced, my friend enjoys noisy, frenetic video games.


Read the text below.

A gaming company in the US aims to ship the world's first virtual reality treadmill to be used while playing video games.

The device, called the Virtuix Omni, is a treadmill that works as a game controller. It allows the user to control a game by walking on the treadmill's surface. When the gamer walks on the Virtuix Omni, his or her character in the game will do the same.

Virtuix, the company behind the groundbreaking device, used the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to raise funds for the production of the Omni. The company reached its original Kickstarter goal of $150,000 in less than four hours, indicating the people’s strong interest for the device.

The Omni comes on the heels of the widely-praised Oculus Rift, a high-definition head-mounted display designed to provide an immersive visual experience for video games. Like the Virtuix Omni, the Oculus Rift was a big success on Kickstarter, where it raised $2.4 million.

The Virtuix Omni is designed to be used alongside the Oculus Rift. Together, the two devices are expected to provide an extraordinary level of involvement in gaming, allowing the gamer to physically experience games in ways that have never been possible before.

Recently, Virtuix demonstrated the Omni with Minecraft, a popular game in which players build objects using 3D cubes and explore built environments. According to Virtuix, it chose Minecraft for the demonstration to illustrate that games are not always violent and frenetic, but can also be friendly and relaxing.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that immersive technologies like the Oculus Rift and Virtuix Omni can become popular with consumers? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, why do some people willingly spend money for game accessories?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think violent and fast-paced video games are popular nowadays?
·         Do you agree that video games have a bad effect on children? Why or why not?


August 8, 2013