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VR Interfaces: Expresso VR Exercise Bikes
of Expresso VR Exercise Bikes
|Expresso Fitness has unveiled a somewhat unique range of exercise bikes, designed
to truly integrate a VR experience into the ride. Usually with an exercise bike,
the VR element is an afterthought tacked on, or using an LCD screen. With these
bikes - there are three models - that is simply not the case. As the image above
shows, a flatscreen monitor, and 3D virtual environment are part of the experience.
What the photo cannot show, is that the 3D is both persistant, and collaborative.
Its a massively multi-user exercise world.
Basically, the bikes are commercial-grade exercise machines incorporate the
VR world as a focussing point. You have an avatar of a biker in that world which
everyone else can see, and your bike responds to the terrain - but its up to
you which terrain you steer towards.
All the bikes network together, through the internet. Yes, ALL the bikes. Wherever
they are in the world, they all share the same VR experience. Of course, at
this time, they are only sold across North America, but the company is young,
so this is understandable.
Whilst riding, the bike allows you to track your course - however wobbly it
may be - or compete against other riders on a casual basis. You can also ride
scenic routes and compete in formal races.
The VR is not just scenic, or a difficulty incline either. The control panel
on the bike allows - and sometimes the terrain almost demands - that you change
gears like a road bike, in order to complete various obstacles. Hitting a vertical
wall at speed is also ill advised.
There are three styles of bike, catering to different body types and ages. These
are categorised as upright, recumbent and youth. However, each share the same
features, and access to the self same virtual space - they are just designed
to maximise the workout for growing bodies, and older bodies, casual or hardcore.
To add to the experience, riders can personalise their experience, track fitness
results and celebrate accomplishments with virtual awards.