Jumping on an exercise bike might help burn that stubborn, beach body-ruining fat, but it can also be the most boring experience in the world. So how do you spice your stationary cardio up a little? How about a piece of custom software, Google Street View and a VR headset?
That's what one Adam Puzey did, and he's using the setup to cycle from Lands End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in Scotland. Yup, that's a simulated cycle running the entire length of our nation. "I want to become the first person to cycle through Britain in virtual reality. I really, really do. In fact I might be the first person to cycle any great distance in VR," comments Puzey in a post on his personal blog.
Using a standard Samsung Gear VR headset, Puzey has developed a bespoke app that takes panoramas in Google Street View and stitches them into a rideable virtual route. He also used a Bluetooth-enabled cadence sensor to track how fast he's pedalling, which then enables said software to warp the panoramas so it feels like he's actually riding through each locale.
For Puzey, the inspiration came from the possibility that Street View contained 3D data that could be extracted and used for such a purpose. "When you use Streetview you’ll notice that when you hover your cursor over the scene it brings up a rectangle that angles correctly to the building your hovering over," he comments in his blog. "When I saw this I realised the scene must also store some 3D information. Some quick research revealed a method of extracting this information and building up a 3D scene. It was then a simple matter of moving the camera through space as I pedal."
Puzey started his journey in May and he's recording each step of the way on YouTube with a map showing his current location, what he can see through his Gear VR headset and a webcam to remind us all how knackering using an exercise can be for long periods of time.
Check out the videos in this story to see how he's getting on. Just be thankful he hasn't got to fork out a small fortune on expensive lycra and a flashy helmet.
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