British programmer travels 900 miles, all without leaving his living room.
Aaron Puzey has become the first person ever to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, the entire length of Britain, in virtual reality. Using a Gear VR headset, a cheap bluetooth cadence monitor and his android smartphone, Aaron has built an affordable virtual reality cycling experience that should get even the laziest sack off the couch and on the road. Appropriately titled CycleVR, the application uses a bluetooth cadence monitor to track pedal rotations while simultaneously using Google Street View to create a 3D environment. The virtual reality scene is displayed in stereoscopic 3D on the Gear VR to simulate the experience of traveling on a bicycle.
Aaron Puzey then tested his ingenious new exercising experience like any rational computer programmer would: by cycling 1500 kilometers across the country of Britain. Some of the specs recorded during his journey are impressive to say the least:
Start date: May 8, 2016
Average speed: 17.6kph
Calories burned: Over 50,000
Towns/villages visited: Around 300
Counties visited: 22
Top 3 locations: Bristol, Lake District and Perthshire
Wrong turns: 3
Fights seen: 1
Horse and carts passed: 4
Aaron spoke more about his motivations behind the project stating, “I don’t really like exercise, I find it boring. I only do it because I know it’s good for me. I’ve been doing a little bit of cycling everyday after work for years but I got sick of staring at the same blank wall all the time. I’d been thinking about using virtual reality for a while and then it suddenly occurred to me that Google Street View is a great way of seeing the other parts of the world without having to actually go there. “I’m hoping my app could become one of those reasons. If we can find the right partner for CycleVR we could launch a consumer version of the app by the end of 2017.”
Virtual reality is a natural fit for the world of exercise and health. Much like Aaron I too find conventional exercise unbearably boring and often wish there were more entertaining options as opposed to simply running on a treadmill or lifting various weights. Hopefully applications like this will help motivate less-active people like myself by combining digital scenarios with real physical activity.
For more information on CycleVR, head to http://www.cyclevr.com