Controllers not needed for this yoga-based mixed reality program
With typical virtual reality programs, there is some level of “gaminess” still at play, whether it be from a traditional DualShock 4 gamepad or a touch-based device on the Vive or Rift. MAP Design Lab’s EMBODY aims to change that with an experience designed to blur the lines between your body and your in-game representation, opening the possibilities for a wide array of fitness applications.
Developed alongside the Whitespace team at lululemon, EMBODY tasks you with matching the movements of an instructor, with the environment changing based on how well you do so. The software makes use of Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and doesn’t require the use of any controllers. Instead, it uses a weight-sensing mat and a camera to more accurately track a user’s every movement.
In place of a standard yoga video on YouTube or a class, EMBODY has the potential to give you real-time and engaging feedback on your performance, even if you’re practicing alone.
The collaboration with lululemon came about as the company was exploring new ways for people to practice yoga, according to an interview Whitelist’s SVP Tom Waller gave with VRScout at Sundance.
“I love how this experience gives people the freedom to roam the world, unencumbered, alongside a companion, all in the service of wellness,” Microsoft technical fellow of mixed reality and AI perception Alex Kipman added.
MAP Design Lab has previously collaborated with Microsoft to create the MoveStudio program for its mixed reality headsets. The program was designed to place users in artistic environments to perform alongside famous dancers and athletes, with movement affecting what happens within the program. In effect, your own movement becomes the source of your creativity. MoveStudio is free and requires the use of a Microsoft Mixed Reality headset.