There have been a handful of attempts to merge fitness with virtual reality (VR) technology over the past year. Many apps, however, face challenges with keeping a player active and not causing simulation sickness thanks to issues with head-mounted displays (HMD). As the first VR bike trainer, Widerun could offer a way around these issues by offering VR fitness in a seated experience. The concept will be launching a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign next week, hoping to raise funds for continued development.
Widerun is compatible with the Oculus Rift and smartphone-based HMDs. The system consists of a harness that players fit to the back wheel of their own bike and a steering component that fits to the front wheel. From there, users can take part in a variety of courses complete with challenges and leaderboards designed to push players to their best. The company intends to release a marketplace with a range of different bike rides of varying intensity for players to take place in.
The company behind the kit also notes that it has placed a huge focus on avoiding simulator sickness. “We noticed that the main responsible of motion sickness was a kind of cognitive “brakedown” between the sense of presence in the VR world and the missing respective movement in the reality (you move with the keyboard arrows),” the campaign notes. “Indeed, what we noticed during Widerun tests was, at least, a fair level of “coherence” between the spinning real movement and the respective motion in the VR world, good enough to maintain the sense of presence and avoid the motion sickness.”
It’s currently not clear how much Widerun is looking to raise on Kickstarter, nor how the long the campaign will run for. The campaign will get underway on 17th March 2015. VRFocus will continue to follow the tech, reporting back with any further updates.