Bored with his daily exercise bike routine, a crafty video game developer from the United Kingdom has come up with a way of spicing up the experience while enjoying the beauty of his country from the comfort of his own home.
Pedaling on an exercise bike may keep you in decent physical shape, but it can get pretty boring after a while. Aaron Puzey had been toiling away on his exercise bike for half an hour a day for years when he decided to look for a way to make it a bit more fun. With virtual reality technology widely available nowadays, all he needed to do was find a way of applying it to his needs. So he set out to build an app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR headset which would allow him to hook it up to Google Streetview and make it seem like he’s cycling through different real-life locations. His ultimate goal? To cycle the entire length of the UK – 1,500 kilometers from Land’s End to John o’ Groats – without actually leaving his home.
Building the custom app to download the 3D data from Street View and make it viewable in the VR headset was the toughest part of his project. Other than that, all he needed to do was tape a Bluetooth cadence monitor to his exercise bike to measure its RPM and send the data to the Samsung Galaxy VR as instructions to advance through his route. Although the quality of the images sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, due to “the high compression on the depth information”, leaving complex scenes like trees and hedges looking like a mess, Aaron has been having a lot of fun on his journey. So much so that he has been gradually lengthening his daily pedaling sessions and hopes to reach his VR destination in the next 50 days. He has been documenting his travels on his blog Cycle VR, posting video highlights of every 100 kilometers he cycles through.
Puzey’s intriguing project is obviously no substitute for real outdoor cycling as it lacks things like the wing blowing in your face or the pain of battling an uphill climb, but it has given him a goal, as well as the chance to take in the beauty of places he might have otherwise never seen, albeit in crude form. It definitely beats staring at a wall or at the TV for 30 minutes, anyway.
Obviously, Aaron’s setup theoretically allows him to ride a bike anywhere around the world. He says he has always wanted to see Japan, so once his epic ride comes to an end, he plans to start another one across the Land of the Rising Sun. Pretty cool!
via The Verge