The jokes are easy to make. People see others inside of a VR headset and joke about how silly they look, about how ridiculous their facial contortions are, and about how ludicrous it is to see them ducking and crawling around because, you see, there isn’t anything really there! But when you try it for yourself and transport your brain to another world, you start to understand why it’s easy to forget about the real world that surrounds you as you get sucked into the virtual landscape.
Gaming in VR is already incredibly immersive and fun, but VR can be used for so much more. Quest Nutrition, a company set out to “revolutionize food and make clean eating fun,” partnered with HTC Vive, VirZOOM, AMD, and Cyberpower PC to host a Mind & Body-themed VR hackathon that took place over the course of 48 hours from July 22nd-July 24th in Los Angeles, CA. The grand prize for the winner was $10,000 as well as an HTC Vive and VR-ready AMD PC for each team member.
“Immersive virtual reality experiences have the potential to solve some of society’s most pressing health issues,” said Nick Robinson, Quest Nutrition Chief Marketing Officer in a press release. “We’re excited to see how technology, mind, and body, can converge to create something transformative.”
At the conclusion of the event, a total of 10 applications were submitted for judging. The judging panel consisted of a wide variety of experienced minds in the VR industry, such as Malia Probst, Director of Brand Strategy for VRScout, Alexander Knoll, Co-Owner/Creative Director at Stress Level Zero, Kent Bye, Host of the Voices of VR podcast, Steven Arhancet, CEO of Team Liquid, and Nick Robinson, the aforementioned CMO of Quest Nutrition.
You can watch several clips of some of the submissions on the official Mind & body VR Hackathon website, the video above is of a zombie game created for the VirZOOM bike over the course of the 48-hour competition. The winning submission was created by VRkout and was named VRKout Chi. This experience, “placed the user in a peaceful atmosphere and helped them perform increasingly difficult tai chi positions with the use of the Vive’s motion tracking controllers. VRKout players needed to place and hold their bodies in specific positions as the virtual instructor guided them through breathing exercise.”
UploadVR was not provided with playable versions of any of these experiences for this story, but it sounds like every team did a great job of running in a unique direction using the topic and theme of the hackathon. The biggest hurdle to VR fitness, as far as I can personally tell at this point, is the propensity to build up significant sweat and foggy lenses when inside the headset. As air flow and circulation technology improves, so too should the comfort of working out and improving personal fitness in VR.
You can find a roundup of the best HTC Vive games to burn calories in VR right here.