If you’ve ever gone to the gym and got your headphones tangled in a set of free weights or the rowing machine, then you can understand how the wired nature of headsets can be a hindrance to your VR fitness workout. You might have already heard about companies like Widerun and Icaros who have already showcased the potential of VR workouts, but the users of their products are still tethered to a PC. Any serious weightlifter will tell you about the importance of utilizing your full range of motion, but that is impossible if you are limited in any way. Well, thanks to Valve Software and QuarkVR, that could change this fall.

Game Changer Alert!

In a matter of months, the joint effort will be releasing their prototype of a wireless VR headset. The developing world of virtual reality is one of action and involvement, and this is doubly so for someone who is interested in VR fitness. Without having to work your way around a wire, the drawbacks that come with tethered, head-mounted displays disappear. No longer would VR fitness just mean looking at computer-generated worlds while you are on the treadmill of a stationary bicycle. Your VR workout would be able to encompass the entire gym.

How It Will Work

With the addition of positional tracking technology, which QuarkVR is planning to use, virtual reality could enhance your workout in ways that your FitBit or Apple Watch couldn’t do alone. If a program was able to follow the movement of your body, perhaps it would also be able to correct your form. Gone would be the days of twisting towards the nearest mirror to check whether or not you were going to throw out your back. Add in a way to log your workout and monitor your vitals, and VR fitness would be able to replace a personal trainer. It would be thanks to what Valve and QuarkVR are working on.

From the creators of Team Fortress 2
From the creators of Team Fortress 2

Valve is known as the developer of popular video games such as Portal and Team Fortress, and they are also the minds behind the Vive technology. On the other side of this partnership is QuarkVR, the Bulgarian company led by Krasi Nikolov and Georgi Georgiev. They created Intugame, the app that allows PC gamers to experience their games in VR. Their body of work might have sprouted from the video game industry, but the technology that could come out of their prototype would do wonders for VR fitness.

Right now, the technology would stream data from the PC over the cloud to your HMD. The process is akin to using the YouTube app on your phone to cast to your TV set. The biggest concern to this approach is how it might cause delays in the transfer of data from PC to the headset. Seeing your movement later than performing it can be very jarring.

The prototype of the wireless Vive will be ready for a demo in a matter of months. Concerns over latency issues aside, Valve and QuarkVR’s joint effort could very well be the first step towards some very interesting things for your VR workout.

-Osmond Arnesto

Have you seen a really cool VR experience that you thing we need to know about? Leave a comment below so we can check it out!


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