Virtual reality is nowadays’ hot topic. It’s already being used in all kinds of human entertainment and sports are no different. While some of us might find the idea of playing tennis with a strange glowing stick in your living room peculiar to say the least, Aaron Puzey connected virtual roads with real-life effort.
He’s apparently the first person to cycle the entire length of the United Kingdom in the comfort of his home. He cycled 1 500 real kilometres (about 900 miles) and passed through some 300 towns and villages. Puzey developed an application for smartphones that allows you to connect VR goggles and Google Street View with a small sensor taped on the crank of your exercise bike.
The sensor is paired with a phone, inserted in the goggles, via Bluetooth and even accurately monitors and reflects the speed with which you’re pedalling. At the moment, you can only follow set paths but future version should allow you to change course wherever your heart desires. That’s why Puzey is currently trying to find out if there are enough likeminded people to start a Kickstarter campaign.
In the final video, he claims to have burned more than 50,000 calories and didn’t even notice because he was constantly being distracted by the artificial landscape around him.
It seems that this could hit the jackpot for people who want to stay fit but despise any kind of movement, as one comment from Aaron’s blog shows: “You’re onto something here. I find exercise utterly tedious. Could you add some zombies and a gun?” And we can allow ourselves to be hopeful, because it was met with a reply from Puzey’s side: “Now you’re talking my language (I’m a game developer by day). Actually I do plan on putting in some ‘gamification’ in this to encourage people to use it so watch this space.”
Final phase summary: 1 400 – 1 500 km with ending of the whole journey.
Such a spice-up would certainly bring a different layer of people to cycling and other sports in general because there’s always a room for improvement when talking about overall population’s health.