With Virtual Reality & a Cycle, Hit the Road Without Leaving Home
This is no ordinary bike. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
This is no ordinary bike. (Photo: The Quint)

With Virtual Reality & a Cycle, Hit the Road Without Leaving Home

If you’re wondering what a bicycle has to do with virtual reality, you’re in for an exciting visual treat.

Amid the gaming giants at the India Gaming Show held in Delhi this month, we ran into a Hyderabad-based company, Loop Reality. The guys at Loop have taken a bike, a laptop and a VR headset to give fitness freaks the experience of riding in the great outdoors – complete with road bumps and a sense of acceleration.

If that hasn’t blown you away yet, take a look at this.

Mind blown already? Well, that’s exactly how this thing got us hooked at the event, and we couldn’t help but try it out ourselves. Ravi Theja Muthu and Karthik KV, representing the company at the gaming event, would have have found it hard to catch people’s attention. But surprisingly, it was anything but that.

And if you’re a fan of the British sci-fi series Black Mirror, Loop Reality’s offering will come as a pleasant surprise.

The LoopFit app is your one-stop-solution for indoor fitness training. It blends immersive VR, the Internet of Things and analytics. In the future, it will also allow you to compete with friends in a virtual bike race.
We had a lot of people coming over to our stall, asking to experience bike riding in VR simulation which hasn’t been done before.
Karthik KV, Principal Consultant, Loop Reality
Give the bike’s pedal a push and see what happens next. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Give the bike’s pedal a push and see what happens next. (Photo: The Quint)

And Loop’s product had visitors queuing up for a ride. Armed with a Hero Sprint bike, a powerful gaming laptop and Oculus Rift VR headset, Loop Reality got a lot of mileage from a event that didn’t have too many takers for the unconventional stuff. The LoopFit app is also compatible with the PlayStation VR headset or the HTC Vive.

Virtual Reality Meets Biking

So what rocket science has fuelled this innovation, which gives us a fitness regime that we'll enjoy?

That iron box underneath the bike helps marry  VR with fitness. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
That iron box underneath the bike helps marry VR with fitness. (Photo: The Quint)

The science behind this device takes you back to the classes where the professor introduces you to kinetic energy – combined with the latest in technology.

Loop Reality isn’t targeting this device for consumers, but will look for tie-ups with gym chains. Looking at the cost factor of the product as a whole (the Oculus Rift alone costs you more than a lakh), we’re not surprised.

What’s Cool About VR Biking?

We took the bike for a virtual spin and the experience was no less than biking in real life. The VR headset’s capability to translate bumps and slides in the form of vibration, which makes user feel like he’s actually biking on the roads.

We sat on the bike and everything else after that felt surreal. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
We sat on the bike and everything else after that felt surreal. (Photo: The Quint)

How does that work? Loop Reality has connected the VR headset to a gaming laptop and wired up the bike with an Internet of Things mechanism that can analyse the riding patterns of the user.

We can control the reading of the mechanism, and configure as per the needs of the customer. The handle bar has been locked, giving user the confidence of cycling without worrying about falling off, which could have mental repercussions if not done the right way.  
Karthik KV, Principal Consultant, Loop Reality

The LoopFit app will also be capable of supporting multi-player sessions, to encourage fitness with VR in a not-so-stressful manner. Soon, people who don’t get the chance to hit the road and head out on their cycles can get a virtual taste of the outdoors – and also stay fit.

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