Now, cycle through the countryside on a virtual exercise machine

November 21st, 2007 - 11:08 am ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Nov 21 (ANI): For all those who dont enjoy cycling at the gym, Australian researchers have designed a gaming program, which coupled with a stationary exercise bike lets you cycle through the countryside without leaving the confines of your home.

Developed by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology, the fitness system employs two Nintendo Wii remote controls - one attached to the rider’s leg, and another receiving a signal from an infra-red light on the rider’s helmet.

The signal controls the virtual setting, providing users with the feeling of cycling through the backdrop of their choice.

Researcher Gavin Jones, who worked on the system with fellow IT students, said that while we know we should be exercising, many of us do not do it because it isn’t fun.

“We all do it, well at least we all should be doing it, but spending 30 minutes on the bike at the gym or in your own home is not really that fun. What we have done is develop a system that takes you on a new and exciting journey in virtual exercise. We have also incorporated sound effects, making this a totally immersive and engaging experience,” quoted Jones, as saying.

According to Jones, the prototype fitness system could easily find itself in gyms around the country.

“The gyms have the music channel on, but it’s kind of boring just watching TV, but if you’re exercising the mind you kind of don’t realise you’re exercising. You could use it on a treadmill, rowing machine or exercise bike like we have … it’s achievable because it is relatively cheap to do and easy to use on any piece of exercise equipment,” he said.

The research team is hoping to take the specially designed system one step further by displaying the images using video goggles, instead of projected onto a screen, providing a full virtual experience.

“Using a large projector is all we could do at the moment, but it would be much better to have the goggles on, so as you look around you see it,” Mr Jones said.

Users of the new system could also design their own virtual worlds and circuits to ride through.

“There could even be an online community where people share there maps out to others, and could go riding through their ‘towns’,” he added.

The system could also display the user’s individual workout progress, keeping track of distance, heart rate, speed and time. (ANI)

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