People running outdoors speed up and slow down without thinking about it – it just happens. On a treadmill, however, they have to manually adjust the speed of the machine. Perhaps they won't have to for too longer, however. Scientists at The Ohio State University have developed a prototype treadmill that detects when its user's running speed changes, and adjusts its own speed accordingly.
In recent years, we've seen a number of virtual reality (VR) devices targeted at bringing more immersive gaming to the home while also adding locomotion to the mix. Joining the charge is the Virtualizer from Austrian-based company Cyberith. The rig features an omni-directional treadmill, which is nothing new, but in addition to letting gamers walk and run on the spot, it also lets them rotate, jump, crouch, kneel and even sit down, with these motions matched in game by their virtual selves.
When we first checked in on the Omni
, an omnidirectional treadmill from Virtuix designed to translate the user's physical movements into a virtual world, the company was hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign in May. It missed that target, but only just, with a launch on June 4. The campaign target has already been exceeded many times over, meaning backers could be getting physical within virtual worlds by January 2014.
Omni-directional treadmills promise to take things a stationary step further than current motion controllers, such as the Wii-mote, PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect, by translating movements to an onscreen avatar as users walk and run on the spot. The Omni from Virtuix is one such treadmill aimed at home users and its creators recently demonstrated its use with the Oculus Rift
, providing a tantalizing glimpse of its potential to provide an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience and really get gamers moving.
Attachable stands or (less affordable) devices like the WeBike
make it possible to exercise both body and mind while pedaling on the spot, but those pounding away on a treadmill are pretty much limited to listening to music or zoning out in front of a TV screen to keep their minds occupied. That could change with a new system developed by researchers at Purdue University. Called ReadingMate, the system uses head-tracking technology to keep onscreen text bobbing along in unison with the runner’s eyes.
video game lets players pet a virtual pet on their TV screen, but Tokyo-based software engineer Taylor Veltrop has gone one step further. By pairing a Kinect
sensor, a Wiimote
, a treadmill
and a Nao humanoid robot
together, Veltrop has cobbled together a teleoperation system that allows him to groom his real life feline friend remotely.
Gone are the days where most houses have large back yards and the family dog can run freely. As outdoor spaces are getting smaller and people are working longer hours, often household dogs struggle to get the exercise they need. I must admit I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of a super-sized mouse wheel, but for the family pet it may just well be a great solution for keeping active and happy.
Sometimes exercise can be a real drag…you know it’s good for you but it can be so boring. There’s a lot of high-tech exercise equipment out there but even with an entertainment screen do you still find that your eyes glaze over and your feet slow down? Luckily, advances in technology equate to improvements in gym equipment. Take the Frevola T7A treadmill for example. It offers so many entertainment options you could find yourself working-out all day. It includes a 17-inch LCD touchscreen for playing games, a choice of avatar that moves at your speed, a virtual trainer and the ability to compete in some real-time racing with your online friends.
Not too dissimilar to the Rollator
we featured late last year on Gizmag is the Treadmill Bike, which leaves as much to the imagination as the movie Snakes on a Plane
. Unlike the Rollator, the Treadmill Bike has only two wheels, looks a little more robust and lets you take it “off road” according to its designers, though why you wouldn’t just go for a jog has got us puzzled.
If you like treadmill exercise but are tired of running up and down on the one spot, or find you don’t have enough time to exercise because you’re constantly wanted elsewhere, this piece of equipment could be the answer. Looking more like a cross between a walker and a treadmill, why not "ride" the Rollator to your next appointment? It's is also ideal for people looking for a low impact way to exercise in the great outdoors but don’t fancy themselves as cyclists.