In our post last week about Video Game Exercise Bikes we got some interesting comments pointing out other companies doing similar things to Cyclescore. Upon further investigation, it looks as though there’s already an industry term for this emerging field of videogame / exercise equipment hybrids: “exergaming”. Silly label, but its a million?dollar idea. Integrated athletic video games and equipment are gradually popping up all over the place in many different forms.

A personal favourite is the website, dedicated to the use of Dance Dance Revolution as a means to lose weight. Another emerging player in this field is a company called Powergrid Fitness which makes the Kilowatt game controller. Essentially, it’s a networkable game controller that controls game speed based on resistance. In other words, the harder you push, the faster your car goes in the racing game. Compatible with PS/2, XBOX and Nintendo, Powergrid Fitness has made the brilliant move of designing several different models – the home model starts off at $600 USD, while the fitness center version will run $1600 USD. I’m firmly of the opinion that for this to take off (in any form) it’s up to some forward thinking gyms to lead the charge.

Another company called TACX has take the “power” idea one step further and created a virtual-reality exercise bike that actually generates electric power. The Fortius trainer’s brakes release heat during cycling, which is then converted to current and fed back into the mains. In this way, you generate your own energy. These retail for about 1500$, so when is my gym going to get one?

Notions of Expenditure is a project being led by A. Laurie Palmer from the University of Chicago that is looking for “speculative proposals to re-design exercise equipment to generate and store energy; and/or to retrofit gyms to function as local power sources linked to the grid.”

If this sparks your curiosity, you can listen to an episode of The Next Big Thing entitled “Sweatshop Gym” that addresses the same subject matter.

Finally, the Solar Swadeshi post on Treehugger raises an interesting proposition of how individuals could work out for 30 minutes a day on a power-generator to generate their own personal electric power for the home. The revolution is on! When can we start?

Posted by Brian Corcoran