The omnidirectional treadmill allows for near-natural walking through arbitrarily large virtual environments and was used for basic research. The basic mechanism consists of 25 belts (0.5m wide) that are mounted on two big chains. The chains constitute one motion direction (up to 2 m/s), while the belts run in the orthogonal direction (up to 3 m/s).
Together, they are able to generate motion in any direction. The chains move 7 tons, driven by 4 large 10 kW frequency-coupled engines. The treadmill measures 6.5 x 6.5 x 1.45m (LxWxH), with an active walking surface of 4.0 x 4.0m. Position of the person on the treadmill is measured with a Vicon® tracking system and is used to adjust the treadmill velocity as a function of walking speed. Together with a head-mounted display the treadmill system allows users to walk through infinitely large virtual environments in a natural way. The omnidirectional treadmill is located under a false floor in the large tracking lab but is currently not in use.