Digital World Native

Biking & VR gaming rolled in one – VirZOOM’s static exercise bike

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You probably feel guilty that your idea of getting a workout is vegging out on your couch & pushing your game controller’s buttons while playing your favorite immersive virtual reality VR videogame. Now you can get a real honest-to-god workout & get to have your nerdy fun at the same time. VirZOOM’s virtual reality-enabled bicycle makes it possible.

The startup announced at the Las Vegas CES 2017 event a stationary bike that’s tethered to an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset which inhabits a virtual world where you can go head-to-head against other bike fitness enthusiasts. VirZOOM is riding the wave of the nascent “vSports” craze that promises to get you in shape while going beyond what you can do in your gym’s spin class.

The bike is a Pegasus, which can be pre-ordered for US $249, & together with the VR headset & the on-line multi-player experience, promises to make exercising exciting. You can save some money, as the 1st 300 bikes will be going for US $199. You’ll also have to shell out US $9.99/month to get Online access to your fitness data & multiplayer modes on games.

VirZOOM actually put together an exposition area in a Las Vegas spa with rows of bikes, all hooked up to high-end gaming PCs & VR headsets. There you could ride your bike while competing against fellow CES attendees, virtually.

To get going, you strap on a headset & sit on the bike. Then you move through a set of menus where you pick 1 of the current lineup of 5 bundled games that are currently available. The most interesting of the games is “Pegaso”, where you use your static bike to maneuver a winged steed as it leaps & soars through the sky.

You have to pedal really hard to get Pegaso flying above the virtual verdant valleys. Slowing your pedaling drops you onto forested zones to pick up coins & apples off the trees. The horse-bound theme reappears in another game where, this time, you’re earthbound in a western scenario, lassoing outlaws. With the buttons on your bike’s handlebars you get to chase down fast-moving animals.

Another game allows you to drive a racing car on a track full of loops, & you get to control the car with your bike (a little weird if you ask me). You get to change gears with the handlebar switches & do some leaning & steering instead of using a steering wheel.

The startup’s co-founder & CEO, Eric Janszen promises that a lot more games will soon be available, thanks to VirZOOM’s use of the industry standard Unity gaming engine. 

Image Credit: VirZOOM

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