VirZoom Lets You Play in the Virtual World and Lose Pounds in the Real One

VirZoom 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Whenever we think of a gym, besides the smell of lost pounds, we see an endless row of stationary bikes with people riding them while gazing ahead through the TV screen in front of them. If you watched the great mini-series Black Mirror, you’d know what we’re on about.
That’s one of the reasons - laziness being the other - why gyms don’t make a very attractive proposition to us, and to a lot of other people, we’d imagine. Getting fit is great and it’s worth the effort, but it takes way too much time without allowing you to do anything else worthwhile in parallel.

It looks like things are about to change thanks to a great startup originating from Cambridge, Massachusetts, that puts the slimmer-to-be person in the saddle of a pretty ordinary-looking stationary bike, just like before. The new and interesting part starts the moment you see the rest of your new training gear: a VR set.

VirZoom comes with a rather flimsy stationary bicycle, complete with game controller-like handlebars and full compatibility with all the major VR solutions presently available: Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive.

Put the headset on and you’ll be immersed into one of the just three games available - none of which, ironically, sits your avatar in a virtual bicycle saddle. We’d like to say that the one featuring racing cars caught our eye the most, but even though it has speeding cars and a golden retriever puppy at the wheel, we’d still go for the Pegasus riding experience. The third one has wingless horses and cowboys with lassoes.

As you’d expect, the whole idea of this rig is to make you pedal faster, so there are no “acceleration buttons” to be pressed. Instead, your in-game speed will be increased via the two pedals. The graphics look like arcade games from 15 years ago, but the immersive experience should make up for it.

The price of the unusual ”VR controller” is $249.95, but preorders can be placed for just $199.95. Considering you’re most likely to spend twice that sum on more useless things this holiday, that’s actually a bargain. For a $10 monthly fee, you’ll get access to important data like the number of burnt calories or traveled distance, as well as multiplayer capabilities and future access to third-party games.

The VirZoom sounds like a good idea that has every chance to catch on, especially considering its reasonable price. However, your workouts might begin to feel a little more nauseating due to motion sickness. You know, the fact that your brain thinks you’re flying over the mountains on the back of a horse while your body sits still and pedals.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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