Runtastic Uses Oculus Rift To Give Your Real-World Workout A Virtual Kick In The Pants

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Fitness tracking app Runtastic has developed a proof-of-concept piece of software for Oculus Rift VR headsets that allow the user to do a real 7-minute workout, while experiencing a virtual environment at the same time. The new software lets you do squats, lunges, yoga and the official 7-Minute Workout, all while immersed in virtual environs designed to inspire you more than the basement, hotel room or boring office you may actually be using.

Locations programmed into this early version include a scenic hillside, a villa by the beach, and a virtual “black hole” (which sounds terrifying rather than relaxing, but maybe it’s an Interstellar cash in?) and it also acts as a movie theater for Runtastic training videos featuring exercise demonstrations. Virtual in-app trainers also perform exercises for the benefit of the user, using motion capture generated by Runtastic’s professional trainers.

Future plans include offering customizable surroundings that users can tweak according to their individual preference, and of course all activity is tracked just like it is with Runtastic’s mobile suite of apps.

In the fictional realm of VR novel Ready Player One, a key feature of VR was the ability to use virtual training regimens to get in shape and stay fit even without leaving your apartment, complete with varying resistance generated by the various interaction devices used by a player when interacting with their virtual environment. Runtastic’s app is like an extremely basic version of that complex vision, but it’s still a step on the path. They’ll be showing it off in person at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, so expect updated impressions once we get some time with it then.