Since the beginning of this year, virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have hit the market, which put immersive multimedia within the hands of all consumers. Even though the industry has basically focused on entertainment and gaming, there are some start-ups that have taken a different route, and headed towards medical and fitness apps for virtual reality.
Just this month, the 2016 LA Virtual Reality Summer Expo managed to boast more than 6,500 attendees that crowded the Los Angeles Convention Center during this 2 day convention. Members and industry professionals lined up to see the latest gadgets and experience what virtual reality has to offer. Because of the growth of this event, that started out just as a modest get together for virtual reality developers, it has finally mirrored the popularity of the technology.
Most in the industry truly do believe that virtual reality will break in to mainstream through first person games, virtual concerts and sporting events, cinematic virtual reality and these were a key part of the expo. Take for example, the keynote presentation made on the opening day was about a pay per view virtual reality pod that reminded people of a super futuristic arcade machine that will be in shopping malls and theater lobbies by the end of the year.
Who is going to make the apps?
Besides all of the fun and games, there are a few companies that have bigger goals that are related to medicine and wellness, but most of these apps are still in their early days and may be expensive for consumers. For example, there are some virtual reality start ups that want to use virtual reality to make workouts less boring, but you would have to have a VR headset, a VR ready computer, and then the product itself.
An Austin, Texas based wellness technology company called Blue Goji want to turn your cardio machines into a huge game controller. Goji Play has two straps that wrap around the handlebars of your stepper, stationary bike or elliptical. You then download the app that has games designed to break away from the traditional cardio routines.
Even though it was originally designed to be played on your tablet or smartphone, Blue Goji expanded their products to virtual reality.
The matter of pricing
Goji Play does cost over $100, but you have to have your own VR headset, VR computer, and cardio machine, none of which are cheap at all. Besides all of that, the platform update that will be released will even cost extra.
VirZOOM is another company that is turning fitness into a game. Instead of using existing cardio equipment, they have created their own exercise bike that is a huge game controller.
For $400, you will get a spinning bike that has button filled joysticks for handlebars, and the access to the software and games. Although, you do have to have your own headset and computer. You can purchase VirZOOM from their website, but it will be launched in Target, GameStop, as well as on Amazon this fall.