VR Fitness Insider Podcast – Episode 8: Virtuix

Welcome to the latest episode of the VR Fitness Insider Podcast! Today, we're excited about showcasing Jan Goetgeluk from Virtuix. His company's innovative hardware and software allows you to step into your favorite virtual reality game and experience full freedom of movement. Jan is a true pioneer of VR fitness and we're excited to have him on the show to share their insights with you all.

Welcome to the latest episode of the VR Fitness Insider Podcast!

Today, we’re excited about showcasing Jan Goetgeluk from Virtuix. His company’s innovative hardware and software allows you to step into your favorite virtual reality game and experience full freedom of movement. Jan is a true pioneer of VR fitness and we’re excited to have him on the show to share their insights with you all.

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Episode 8 – Virtuix

Preston Lewis: [00:00:00] Welcome to the VR Fitness Insiders podcast, for the creators who are building the future of the VR and AR sports and fitness industries that will revolutionize the way the world will play sports, work out and get fit with your hosts. Preston Lewis and Ryan DeLuca, the founders of Black Box vr, who are building the world’s first full fitness VR gym and bring decades of experience from creating some of the largest fitness technology companies in the world.

They’re bringing together the best and brightest minds to help you and your company succeed in the VR fitness revolution.

Welcome to the VR Fitness Insider podcast. Today we have Jan Goetgeluk with us, who has been creating innovative hardware for the VR space since 2011. He’s the founder and CEO of Virtuix, and they’ve been doing just some awesome stuff in this space. Jan, thank you for being here.

Jan Goetgeluk: Thanks for having me.

Preston Lewis: So why don’t we start off, uh, with giving our audience a quick intro into who you are and your background.

Jan Goetgeluk: I’m Jan Goetgeluk. I’m the founder and CEO of Virtuix. We make the Omni, [00:01:00] which is an omnidirectional treadmill to walk and run around in 360 degrees inside virtual reality games or other applications. So instead of just sitting down or standing up, pushing a button on a controller, you are physically walking and running around inside the VR world.

Preston Lewis: That’s so cool. So that’s a pretty crazy invention you guys have come up with. Why don’t you give us a quick history of Virtuix and then how you personally first got into VR.

Jan Goetgeluk: I started on this, a while back, before VR was cool again. I thought virtual reality was gonna be the next big thing. And I was thinking, you know what? I don’t want to sit down just on a chair. You need something to walk around inside that world. So something like a treadmill, but in 360 degrees, an omnidirectional treadmill. And I looked around and nothing existed, nothing that was commercially viable. And so I thought, you know what? I have actually a mechanical engineering background, although I was working as an investment banker for JP Morgan at the time. But I thought, let me work on this after hours. So I started working on a few [00:02:00] prototypes of what is now the Omni, and that’s how it started.

Preston Lewis: Super cool.

Ryan DeLuca: It’s been just such a big part of the industry. Tell us more about the Omni One 360 degree treadmill. So that’s your new innovation, that’s the future of Virtuix. And tell us how does it work, what does it do?

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, right. We’ve been actually mainly focused on the commercial markets until recently, where we shipped our Omni Pro and our Omni Arena eSports attraction, mainly to commercial entertainment venues. Dave and Busters, who’s kind of one of the big entertainment venues in the US. And our players kept asking us, “where can I get this for my home, where can I buy this?” So we started working on a Omni treadmill for the home. Our first consumer product, and that is Omni One. We just started shipping Omni One in beta, the first few beta units to our early customers. So this year is a year where we’ll start bringing Omni One to market. The first Omni treadmill for the home. Complete system, not just a treadmill. It comes with its own headset. So it’s a complete entertainment system for the home.

Ryan DeLuca: What type of games and [00:03:00] experiences are people able to use it with? Like, what type of sports and fitness activities, specifically?

Jan Goetgeluk: We don’t promote this, per se, as an exercise device. It’s a gaming system first, but it has clear exercise benefits. That’s really the appealing part. You’re playing video games, but at the same time you are burning calories. Our game store offers something for everybody. A wide range of genres. Uh, really any VR game that can use movement, that you can use locomotion movement around in that game, is a good fit for the Omni. Whether that’s first person shooters, or adventure games or even non-gaming applications, maybe more pure fitness applications, we’re working on that as well. Even an application where you’re just walking around visiting touristic places in the world, actually. Just walking around in VR for those who don’t want to shoot zombies, or there’ll be something uh, for everybody in our store.

Preston Lewis: I think I’d wanna do the, non-zombie ones. My wife and I were just watching The Last of Us, and thinking of that in [00:04:00] VR. I’m already having nightmares, so that would be like a 10x nightmare. I’d rather walk around Paris or something.

Ryan DeLuca: The famous viral video, uh, with your Omni Arena. Where the person is, you know, shooting and running the other way. And, you know, just going crazy. Probably the most exercise that person’s ever had.

Jan Goetgeluk: Video went viral. I think over thirty million views now. I think Elon Musk himself uh, tweeted that video.

Preston Lewis: Oh, wow.

Jan Goetgeluk: Which was really cool, yeah.

Ryan DeLuca: That’s a bucket list type of thing right there. Nice job. What is the current state of development? So you said that it’s in beta now, so you’re actually shipping it to beta customers. Where are you at in the process? What’s next for that process?

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, it’s looking very good. We haven’t observed any major issues, so we’re right now tooling up all remaining parts, plastic parts, uh, die casts for aluminum parts. Over nine hundred of our investors applied for a beta unit, so we gonna have a pretty substantial beta program. But we’ll come out of beta later this year.

Ryan DeLuca: That’s great news. That’s gonna be a big moment for the industry. So [00:05:00] tell us a little bit about the design decisions that went into this. I mean, obviously it’s such a brand new thing, of like, running in place within VR. It makes it such a, interesting concept that’s so different than most things out there. Which type of things did you have to look at? What were like the key aspects of that engineering?

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, for Omni One specifically, where it’s different from our commercial system, is that you have full freedom of movement. So you can crouch, and jump and really that level of freedom. The downside of that is that you’re less supported. On the commercial Omni has the support ring around you, so at any given time, you’re fully supported and you can’t fall, but you can’t crouch. So with Omni One, we have to give you some sort of resistance force, force to pull you back to give you good support. The challenge is that needs to work both for a six year old girl and a two hundred and fifty pound, you know, American. So that was a big challenge, to make that level of freedom [00:06:00] work while people still feel supported. Whether they’re smaller or big, that took a while to nail but I think we nailed it.

Ryan DeLuca: Yeah, you know, another part of it is, it’s gotta be a system for a home that is easy to maintain. You know, obviously commercial systems, you can have people doing maintenance to it all the time. And it looks like a lot of what you have done that’s different than other people, is made it much simpler system when it comes to less moving parts. Like, tell us a little bit about that part of the design.

Jan Goetgeluk: The technical term is omnidirectional treadmill, but it doesn’t have any moving parts. And there’s no belt, there’s no motors. It’s a passive device based on low friction. So you put on these, uh, low friction over shoes, over your existing shoes, and you walk on this concave dish, and then for your brain, you know, your brain feels like you’re walking. It’s designed to mimic natural walking. So your brain thinks your walking in VR. Which you literally walking on this low friction surface.

So no moving parts, which is great for maintenance. If something breaks, the Omni is very modular. Omni One, you don’t even need any tools to put it together. You have the [00:07:00] base, the arm, the vest, it just clicks together. And if something breaks, I say the arm, we can just send you a replacement arm. We don’t plan on sending technicians all over the country. I don’t think we’d be a viable business if we have to do that. Yeah, it’s pretty easy to take care of it. Yeah.

Preston Lewis: Yeah, to Ryan’s point, I think that’s one of the most genius approaches you guys have taken compared to everyone else in the market, because everyone of course watches, was it Ready Player One? And they see this very treadmill-like VR treadmill, right? With the moving parts. But it’s, kind of, like, moving in real time.

And of course some, uh, development studios have tried that, you know? And we’ve seen some of those videos. And it still just looks like it would be a very kind of janky, unnatural feeling, especially when you’re trying to change directions quickly, like, that from the zombies video you mentioned. I think that’s one of the biggest innovations you guys were able to take something that was, basically, one main dish part versus hundreds, probably, for just the belt of the treadmill. Which is super smart. One quick question I had on that is, is there specific shoes that you [00:08:00] wear when you’re on the Omni?

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, yeah. It comes with overshoes. We also have full footwear as well, but it’s based on low friction. So you do have to wear this low friction overshoe, over your existing footwear. Yeah.

Preston Lewis: Got it. Cool.

Ryan DeLuca: It’s so great to be able to actually move around in VR and feel like you’re moving around versus, you know, just the controller pointing at things. What are some of the benefits for people using something like this, versus a normal controller pointing and clicking locomotion. How is this better for people when it comes to a sports and fitness standpoint?

Jan Goetgeluk: I think many, many benefits. I don’t think anybody envisioned VR as mini teleports from point A to point B to point C. You know, people do want to move around in that world. And then, when you push a button on a joystick while you’re sitting down or you’re standing still, well, it creates motion sickness. Because your brain sees you’re walking, but your body is not moving. And that disconnect, your brain thinks, “oh my God, something’s wrong here.”

So that creates motion sickness. So in our case, you are physically moving. Your [00:09:00] body has that little bit of acceleration, so you don’t get motion sick and you get to move, you know, naturally all around the VR world. And then of course from a fitness perspective, well, yeah, you are moving. You are burning calories, which I’m very excited about.

Because I do believe in a future where society will use VR a lot for entertainment or even non-entertainment. And we already have such a sedentary lifestyle. With the Omni, if you wanna spend a lot of time in VR, well, at least you’re active. Your body is moving, you’re burning calories. So I think that’s very appealing. Also for parents who want to get their kids off the couch, you know, you’re not just sitting on the couch playing Fortnite five hours a day. You’re playing video games, but at least you’re running and moving. I think that’s terrific about it.

Ryan DeLuca: The most exciting parts is, you know, I think everybody pretty much knows that, like, playing video games too much is not good for you, from a health standpoint. Right? There’s a lot of benefits and, you know, and it’s great entertainment and, you know, reduce anxiety and connect with friends. But we all feel guilty when you lay on the couch, whether it’s Netflix or video games for three, four, five hours. [00:10:00] And sometimes that’s every day. I think the dream for a lot of people, and we hear this at Black Box VR, is “I’ve told myself not to play video games, either at all or not too much, but now I can get my video games fix and fitness, and I know I’m doing something that’s good for me.” And that seems like really what the Omni One is gonna bring to people.

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah. Agreed. Yeah.

Preston Lewis: A hundred percent. I think one of the cool things with that is, um, you can probably not the best phrase to use, but, “have your cake and eat it too”. Right? Because we’re talking about fitness. But, uh, “you have your protein shake and drink it too”, I guess? But, uh, this idea that you don’t have to have the trade off, Ryan mentioned, with the gaming versus the fitness. But when you think about the Omni One or you think about this VR fitness, it’s more about the immersion, right? With treadmills and these low tech exercise, what we call, “torture devices”, is you’re looking at that machine and you’re not thinking about exploring Paris or all these awesome things you can do in VR. You’re looking [00:11:00] at that machine and you’re literally just thinking about how painful it’s gonna be, because all you care about with that machine is burning the hundred calories, or the two hundred calories, or whatever it is.

So, to all of your points, that’s one of the most powerful things. Is the association with that device. It’s gonna be associated with freedom, maybe autonomy, fun, entertainment. Versus the association that it is today, with exercise devices, which is, you know, pain and displeasure, so.

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, agree. Similar what you guys are doing with Black Box, you know, same. You just take the boringness out of it and make it fun. Make it a game, make it entertainment.

Preston Lewis: We haven’t really heard many people go to Black Box, well pretty much ever, saying, “hey, I’m gonna go to Black Box to try to get fit or to burn x amount of calories”, or like those fitness stats we talked about.

Like they go there to say, “okay, oh, today’s quest is gonna be this and my team’s gonna be doing that.” And so it’s, that is the cool thing, where I’ll say, it is like it’s more focused on the gaming aspect of it.

Jan Goetgeluk: Mm-hmm. Exactly.

Ryan DeLuca: I think we all dream of that activity that we fall in love with, you know, whether it’s some kind of sport or [00:12:00] some type of exercise program.

And that’s the dream that all the exercise programs sell, of course. Like, “this is the most fun thing and I love it”, but it’s really, like, the same thing as always. And then people feel guilty, like, “why don’t I love it?” You know? And like, Preston, you mentioned like the treadmill. Usually people looking at the treadmill in their house, they’re not just thinking, “oh, I need to get on there and burn calories.” They are thinking, like, “I need to use it at least, you know, once this month, and I gotta, my clothes are hanging on it right now.” It’s this feeling of guilt that just, it looks at you, you know? If you could make it so with VR, being able to make it so that you actually like itch to go back. You know? The dream would be, like, “I’ve worked out too much today. I need to work out less and stop.” Versus, like, trying to get myself to actually get up and go do it.

You know, on that note, what type of feedback have you had from people? Either beta users or people internally that are using it, you know, maybe not directly for fitness, but are seeing the benefits of it from, you know, a burning calories and exercise standpoint?

Jan Goetgeluk: It’s a great question. B ack in the days before we, um, went to the [00:13:00] commercial route, we actually started shipping our very early Omni units to some consumers. We started with a Kickstarter ten years ago, so we delivered some of this Kickstarter units. And some of those are still using it today, believe it or not.

And we’ve seen some of those stories where, “I’ve used this to lose weight. I started at two hundred and fifty pounds and now I’m two hundred pounds.” And so now with Omni One, that’s what I’m excited about, to see those kind of stories. Like, “hey, I started at two hundred and fifty pounds and look at me now”. Before and after kind of pictures. Some people contact us and they want to make this a YouTube channel. They have a YouTube channel, they want to do this as content creation. As part of their journey and document that. And that’s what I’m really excited about.

Ryan DeLuca: You know, it’s one thing to say, “hey, you gotta get this new omnidirectional treadmill. It’s like Ready Player one. And there’s all these fun things you can do.” And obviously, that’s very exciting. But to some people, seeing somebody walk in the office the next day and, like, they haven’t seen them for a couple months and they’ve lost fifty pounds. It’s like, “what you been doing?” It’s like, “man, I’ve been playing games and having fun.” You know? And that’s a [00:14:00] great way to get people to say, “I’m taking the leap. I’m gonna buy this. I also want to get into VR.”

Jan Goetgeluk: Justifies, purchasing it. Because interesting stat, fifty five percent of our customers don’t own a VR headset today. They don’t care per se about just buying a VR headset. Just VR with a VR headset. You know, it’s cool and all, but okay, maybe not cool enough. But what we offer with the movement part with it, that’s really cool. So it’s cool to see that a lot of our customers just want to get into VR with the Omni, not necessarily with just a headset.

Preston Lewis: That’s an awesome point, uh, that kinda leads us into our next question. There’s kind of this benefit slash advantage to building more of a vertically integrated product and user experience. Versus, just using a headset or just doing the treadmill. It’s really cool to see that you guys have really taken on a lot more aspects of that experience. And I think because of that, you’re able to really create these awesome games and this awesome hardware that [00:15:00] integrates in such a way, where it’s way better for VR sports and fitness. So that being said, when you’re developing this hardware or the games for VR sports and fitness, what are the most critical aspects to keep in mind for creating a good “in quotes” experience?

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, it’s a good question. And, you know, we don’t just create our own games. We do work with all the third party developers, any suitable VR game. We have an SDK software development kit. It’s pretty easy to port any suitable VR game to our platform. So, luckily, we don’t have to make all the games ourselves. That would be pretty hard. But we do offer a complete system, because it’s just a better user experience. The system is just out of the box, one big button and it just works, right? And the games are nicely integrated. We are not just using our treadmill as an accessory to hack into existing games and it kind of works, but for end users, consumers, it’s just gotta be really good. That’s the philosophy behind that. And you’re right, you know, games ideally are designed with this in mind, are designed by the Omni in mind. Ultimately we find that the best games [00:16:00] for the Omni are the games we make ourselves, because we know the hardware so well. And VR game design is very different than non-VR games. I get a lot of questions, “oh, can you bring Fortnite to this? Or Call of Duty?” And you know this very well, the answer is “no”. Because those games are not made for VR and it’s like porting a radio show to TV, you know? So two very different mediums, and they don’t port all that well. So it’s important that games are designed for VR, and then if there’s a movement part in there, then the Omni can take that part over pretty readily.

Preston Lewis: We’re all kind of early creators in the VR movement, right? Especially with the sports and fitness aspect of it. You kind of mentioned some specific things that you should do as a VR game creator. Can you talk maybe a little bit more about that for some of our listeners that are developers or designers themselves? You mentioned, kind of, reducing motion sickness and things like that, but any other…

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, for example, Call of Duty has all these cut scenes, right? And that just doesn’t work well in VR. Also, the pace of the game, I just pick Call of Duty as an example. You know, you’re gonna run at forty miles per hour and then jump [00:17:00] backwards thirty feet in the air. In VR, that’s gonna feel really bad. You have to just design your game much more realistic for it to feel good in the VR medium.

I think it’s very important for any sort of entertainment system, to make it very easy for players to get into it. The kind of “five seconds to fun”, they call it, right? Just remove as much friction as possible. And that was very important in our design as well. How can we make something that players can just get in quickly, put on it, and go, right? Because some people ask us, “hey, can you add haptic gloves, can you add haptic this, haptic that?” And the answer is “yes”, but you just keep adding stuff for players to put on gloves or zip up a haptic suit. And at the end of the day, the question is, “okay, that’s a lot of friction… does it create a lot more upside, a lot more immersion?” And that’s the trade off. But I think it’s very important for any VR system, or any entertainment system in general, and Black Box, of course, knows this very well, too, it’s gotta be very easy to use. And that’s been a key focus for [00:18:00] us.

Ryan DeLuca: You know, just totally agreeing. It’s amazing how little friction, you know? I mean, sometimes you can add good friction. Like, I have to hide my Xbox, like, somewhere upstairs or somewhere where it’s like, “oh, I’m gonna have to go upstairs and go do that.” Versus, like, if it’s right there. But then I end up just playing games on my phone, because it’s so convenient. So anything with like VR, being able to just quickly do that, put the headset on, get in there is so much better. And it’s getting better. And it’s great that the focus that you guys have had on that is such a critical part.

Preston Lewis: it’s cool also to see the patterns that have been created. When we were starting Black Box, there was a certain time in our game, where you have to turn and face the field. We had to experiment with a bunch of different patterns, with rotating the room, things like blocking out your periphery to reduce motion sickness and all these different patterns. So the cool thing also with what you guys are doing, specifically with the running as you mentioned, is a lot easier on the vestibular system. Lot more, kind of, eyes matching the feeling of what your body is expecting, right? To avoid the sickness. Um, but it’s also been cool to see the onboarding and teaching as well. Before it was just [00:19:00] people sitting in a chair, putting on a Google cardboard and then you’d throw ’em on a rollercoaster, as we know that is not good. I really wanna try the Omni, man. I wonder how that would feel with that motion, because I think we’ve all also been in VR pushing the joystick forward. And, you know, we’ve spent hundreds of hours in VR and so it’s, you know, you kind of get used to it? But I’m sure that the running motion helps a ton.

So next question we had was, uh, how would you describe your perfect VR fitness game or experience? What types of features would it have? What would make it fun and effective, and what mechanics might you avoid?

Jan Goetgeluk: It’s a great question. Actually, we’re working on a fitness application for the Omni. I think there’s a few VR examples that have done it quite well in the consumer space. Supernatural is a good example, where they basically took the Beat Saber mechanic, but then added a live coach, or at least recorded coach, and some fitness elements with some nice good looking sceneries, right? So I think that that added a lot of elements to make that fitness experience quite enjoyable. Uh, so in our case, you know, [00:20:00] adding a movement component to that. We actually have a game like Beat Saber, but with movement on top of it, which is available in our Omni Arena installation. So we can have that similar style set up where you, you’re hacking and slashing, but you’re also, you know, walking or running forward. And we can do that in a beautiful scenery. So you’re overlooking the Amalfi coast, and then with some nice male or female coach cheering you on, you know? That starts to look like an enjoyable fitness experience. Yeah.

Ryan DeLuca: Yeah, we can’t wait to try it. What’s funny, um, you kinda mentioned earlier like, you know, on Call of Duty, how that doesn’t really fit. You know, right now when you’re running in a lot of those games, obviously it’s pressing forward, and you’re, like, super pressing forward so you actually run. And, it’s like, you get so frustrated in those games where the guy doesn’t run, you know, it’s like stamina. And, it’s like, it runs and you’re like, “oh, go faster” and the stamina has to build back up. And it tries to be more realistic, you know, but I’m just imagining Call of Duty, but, like, I’m actually tired. You know? Like, it’s not just, “I actually get tired of holding a button like that.” Imagine like, you know, running like that, but being in that game environment where running is [00:21:00] not fun, and being tired is not fun, and being exhausted and your muscles burning is not fun.

But when you’re in that immersive environment and there’s things going on, and you have objectives and you’re on a team, like, it’s just gonna make it such a different thing. Adding in also the athleticism part to it, where if Preston can actually run faster and longer than I can, he’ll be able to go do certain things and he’ll be like, you know, holding the team back, you know, until I continue using the Omni One and leveling myself up and then now my character can actually go faster. It’s like those type of things in fitness experiences are gonna totally change everything.

Jan Goetgeluk: Absolutely. Because one thing we have with Omni Arena, which is our attraction for places like Dave & Busters, it has these built-in eSports contests. It’s actually an eSports attraction where there’s a built-in weekly and monthly contest, and players can win real money by being in the top ten of the leaderboard by the end of the week or by the end of the month. So we have these teams that come and play every week. They have their own jerseys, and eSports teams basically for Omni Arena. And you’re right, Ryan, the cool part is there’s a [00:22:00] physical element to it. There’s really an athleticism to it, to the eSports part, which is traditionally just guys sitting down talking on a keyboard. And, in our case, you can imagine, I have this vision of eSports finals, with eight Omnis on a stage, four against four. And it’s such a visual spectacle, where people are indeed competing in video games. But you add that physical element to it. Endurance, speed, you know? It’s much more than just clicking a mouse with your finger. So it’s really cool, and I think we’ll see that. And actually some of international locations have done these eSports exhibits or events where they put Omnis on a stage and people are duking it out, and it’s really exciting to watch. So yeah, I’m excited about that.

Ryan DeLuca: It’s like so fun to watch UFC fights, because you just know like, “oh this person is getting tired, they’re getting wore down” and there’s all this strategy to all that. So, I mean, adding a whole different element of strategy, strategy to eSports games where the person’s actually tired. You know? They can’t jump as high, they can’t run as [00:23:00] fast and they need to take a break. And so take advantage of that. Like, “go attack this objective” and you know, it’s gonna be amazing.

Preston Lewis: That’s so cool to hear you say it, because we say it internally at Black Box a lot, as well. Because I mean, when we first envisioned it, we saw it as kind of the CrossFit Games meets an eSports tournament, right? Because CrossFit games, it’s way more fun than watching just a normal lifting competition, right?

Cause it’s more dynamic, and you have these athletes and they’re just these crazy specimens of humans as far as like their athletic performance, strength and cardio wise. And that’s what we always say, like, why can’t you combine that athleticism with the epicness of eSports, right? Because on the other end, like you guys are saying, eSports are super epic. Like, dialed up to ten or eleven, right? As far as that goes. Explosions and, like, all these champions and all this cool stuff. But the athleticism just isn’t there. The cognitive function and that side of athleticism, the twitch factor is there. But those two combined, there’s never been a time like this in history to have a brand new sport. Right? So it’s super cool. [00:24:00]

Jan Goetgeluk: Yep.

Ryan DeLuca: So VR, you’ve been in it for a long time. I think, uh, longer than most people we know, that’s for sure. Since like 2011, and we’ve seen amazing progress, of course. You know, I think we all hoped it would be faster progress, like we really started getting into it really hardcore 2015, 2016. And we’re like, “oh, by 2020, you know, the far future it’s gonna be, you know, these contact lenses”, you know? And obviously, it’s been amazing progress and it’s really going in the right direction. We’re hoping these next few years are even better. What do you think the next three to five years of VR is gonna be like? What type of hardware, software improvements do you think are coming next that will help grow the industry?

And what kind of things are you personally looking for? What do you hope that comes out soon when it comes to VR hardware/software?

Jan Goetgeluk: I think the most progress is made around the headsets. That’s where most of the investments go with Facebook, Meta, of course. Apple coming out, rumors once again [00:25:00] this year, with their VR or XR mixed reality headsets. I’m excited about that, I’m excited about Apple joining the VR space. But Meta, yeah, they continue to pump billions of dollars into VR. Which I love. Please keep doing that, because it’s really driving VR forward and the technology forward. You know, the headsets they’re working on, they’re just getting better and better. Lighter, high resolution, better processing power.

Ultimately, we should get to something that’s called the Visual Turing Test, where your brain no longer knows if it’s real or not real. Like, your brain can no longer discern, “am I looking in a virtual world or is this the actual world?” That’s coming, that’s certainly where we’re going towards. Then it becomes really exciting, right? VR becomes such a powerful medium. Yeah, VR still has critics, right? People still believe that VR is a fad. But how can it be? Like, if your brain no longer knows whether you’re in a real world or in a virtual world. [00:26:00] That’s the height of entertainment, right? Any form of entertainment tries to take you out of the real world and put you somewhere else. Whether you watch a movie, or read a book or go to a play. You can’t be more immersed in a virtual world than having a VR headset on. And so if that becomes so good, and it’s light and those headsets become pretty thin. Right? So it’s really neat and I think it’s only gonna get better. We’re still only getting started, frankly. It’s certainly, Ryan, to your point, going much slower than we all thought, right? We were supposed to have a hundred million headsets out five years ago.

So slower adoption, but nonetheless, continued adoption. And even for us, you know, we’ve been doing this for ten years, but our vision hasn’t changed. It’s rare that a company ten years later, as a startup, still working on the same thing as ten years ago, and we haven’t had to make a major pivot or we’re doing something completely different. No. The vision is unchanged, even more so. Everything we thought would happen ten years ago, is still happening. And it is more and more real now than even ten years ago. It’s taken a little bit [00:27:00] longer, but I’m very excited about the continued development and where the technology is going.

Ryan DeLuca: You nailed it. Things are still moving forward. It’s that constant march forward and there’s a lot of research that’s happening. And, like you said, billions of dollars by the world’s biggest trillion dollar companies, you know, are going into this. I think a lot of that research that we’ve been hearing about over these last few years is now finally coming to the commercial market, and these next few years are gonna be very exciting. And you’re right, like, if people think VR is just a fad, then I guess the real world’s just a fad, you know? You’d be able to make much better real experiences, and be anywhere and do anything from home or from another location.

Jan Goetgeluk: Who doesn’t want that? Right? Who wouldn’t want that? “Oh, you can put on these glasses, and you’ll be in Paris and see the Eiffel Tower.” Yes, people want that. Absolutely.

Ryan DeLuca: So what’s next for you and Virtuix? So, lots of exciting things this year. We got the beta out there and going out to eventually nine hundred different people, and then moving into production. So non-investors can buy it. Uh, what’s next for you in the next few years?

Jan Goetgeluk: All focus on Omni One [00:28:00] right now. Uh, it’s gonna take some time to get to the beta program, to dial in our production. We have so much demand. We have this wait list already of over thirty five thousand people that want a unit. So, yeah, it’s incredible. So we have our work cut out for us. We’ll keep adding, you know? Right now it’s just the Omni, we’ll add some haptics and add some more bells and whistles. And then, of course, the software and the content. So that’s our key focus right now, is make Omni One the best and the most fun home entertainment system it can be.

Ryan DeLuca: Yeah, very excited to personally get one and, uh, see these in people’s homes across the country and eventually the world. Like, this is the future. This is what people want and it’s gonna help make such a big difference for people when it comes to sports and fitness. So thank you and your team for keeping the focus and that long-term grind. You know, everyone thinks about starting a company. It’s like, “oh, I’m gonna start a company and then probably like one month later we’ll sell to Apple.” And you know? It’s like, the truth is, I mean it’s decades sometimes, but just keeping the focus and learning. And the fact that you and your team have been able to do that [00:29:00] is really a testament to your capabilities and passion and focus. And it’s really just an honor to be in the same industry with you.

Jan Goetgeluk: You guys as well, you know, what you’re doing with Black Box. I’m a big fan. And, uh, hey, look, I’m hopeful that after ten years we can finally become that overnight success. Seriously, stay hopeful.

Ryan DeLuca: That’s right.

Preston Lewis: Echo the sentiment of Ryan. Obviously the startup world is difficult and, uh, there’s a ton of unknowns, specifically when you’re creating a new category. So congrats to you and the team. Congrats to even the product market fit aspect of it. The fact that you guys have that giant waiting list is really cool. And bodes well for, not only your company, but for the entire industry.

How can people get involved in investing in your project in Virtuix, and be a part of it?

Jan Goetgeluk: Yeah, we’re doing actually a small investment round right now. We’ve raised over thirty five million from investors to date, including Mark Cuban, who’s a big investor of our venture funds. But we’ve also always raised money from the crowd, equity crowdfunding, which is such a great fit for our product. We have a very vibrant community, so many players, so many [00:30:00] fans that love what we do. And so every funding round we do, we always open up a part of the crowd as well. So if you go to invest.virtuix.com, or just virtuix.com, you’ll see a link there as well. For just a thousand dollars, invest in Virtuix and in exchange you get a discount on Omni One. And you’ll be first in line to order the product even before it gets released to the general public. So anybody can become part of our journey.

Preston Lewis: Perfect. That’s amazing.

Ryan DeLuca: A big opportunity.

Preston Lewis: Well thanks so much Jan for joining us and sharing your story, insights and passion for creating the future of your fitness with our audience.

Uh, for any of you in the audience that would like to connect with Jan and his team, we’ll put all the info mentioned in the show notes. So be sure to check those out. And thanks again.

Thanks for listening to the VR Fitness Insider podcast. Do you know of anyone that should be on our show or have feedback? Don’t forget to email us at podcast vr fitness insider.com and follow us at VR Fitness Insider on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. You [00:31:00] can also join our Discord channel. Until next time, keep creating and dreaming up the next big thing that will revolutionize the world of fitness.

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Preston Lewis
Preston is the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Black Box VR. Preston is a fitness fanatic, UXUI junkie, product design ninja and product visionary. Preston has provided creative direction and product management to some of the largest brands in the world. His passion for amazing products and solving difficult design problems has earned him numerous awards for projects ranging from traditional print campaigns and packaging design, to chart-topping mobile applications with complex information architectures. After helping grow multi-million dollar brands, Preston decided to leap back into the world of entrepreneurship with a mission to combine his passions for technology, games, fitness, and changing lives, to create the future of fitness; with this vision, Black Box VR was born. When he's not creating new digital products and growing brands, he can be found enjoying paleo treats with his wife that she posts on her blog, AmazingPaleo.com, playing the guitar, singing, working out in VR and dreaming up the next tech innovation.