Ghost Pacer Headset Offers Runners Their Own Holographic Training Partner

An augmented reality running coach designed by runners, for runners.

There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, especially when it comes to physical fitness. Unfortunately, finding a reliable training partner compatible with your specific workout goals can often prove difficult, especially in a post COVID-19 world.

Ghost Pacer aims to take the stress away from coordinating runs, allowing you to select the route and speed of an AR holographic avatar and race against it in real-time; any time, any place. In addition to going head-to-head with on-demand workout partners, you can also challenge fellow Ghost Pacer users as well as race against yourself by revisiting old workouts.

“It’s hard to speculate, but it seems the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a preexisting trend of the average work schedule becoming more flexible and including options for telecommuting,” stated CEO AbdurRahman Bhatti during a conversation with VRScout. “As schedules become more varied the need for on-demand fitness technology will grow, and we are aiming squarely at meeting that need for runners.”

“Furthermore, there are significant implications for areas such as yoga and physical therapy – slower types of exercise to which form is critical, and we are actively targeting a move to indoor-compatible technology as the next step on our roadmap (assuming a successful launch of the current iteration) to provide for those needs.”

Here’s how it works: using the Ghost Pacer companion app, users can select a target pace or a previous workout to race against. A holographic avatar will appear on the track/road/path, allowing them to race against their digital adversary for competitive edge; slow down and the hologram will leave you behind, keep on pace and the model will jog side-by-side with you throughout your run. Users can even integrate their existing Strava runs into their training, opening up access to thousands of other pre-determined routes.

In addition to Ghost Pacer, there’s also Ghost Pacer Pro, a more advanced version of the headset capable of delivering custom daily training plans and compatible with select smartwatches.

Weighing in at just 3.17 oz, Ghost Pacer claims to be the lightest headset on the market, thanks in large part to its focus on outdoor-activities. AbdurRahman, an experienced cross country runner and Princeton-bound engineer, played a significant role in the design of the headset, offering valuable insights from both the perspective of a runner and developer.

“My background as a cross country runner, beyond being the reason that we built this product, has helped us in that we were able to develop a product made specifically for the running experience. As a cross country runner, I understood that these glasses did not have to have millimeter-level accuracy for the avatar animation or all-day battery life (which tends to make more general platform glasses too bulky and convoluted to use for outdoor applications) in order to be a hyper-effective training tool.”

“We hold claim to the title “lightest mixed reality headset ever built” through a careful series of design decisions that balance the power of the hardware with the quality of the user experience. We are in a unique position due to our outdoor-activity focus that allows us to simplify the total hardware package significantly relative to other headsets such as Microsoft’s HoloLens.”

At the time of this writing Ghost Pacer sits $22,464 above its original funding goal of $25,000 with 29 days left to go in the Kickstarter campaign. Those interested in learning more can visit ghostpacer.com/blogs/#.

Image Credit: Ghost Pacer

Kyle Melnick: Kyle is a writer for VRScout also working in new media production. He's also a part-time bounty hunter.
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