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Experience Smart Fitness with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Over the recent years, the technological advances have made the proliferation of immersive technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality more adoptable among different industries. This is why there is an influx of the VR and AR-enabled tools since AR and VR are impacting lives around us in a number of ways. Both AR and VR are poised to transform human behavior and experiences by resonating the real-world scenarios with the help of hand-held, wearable and display devices.

The State of AR and VR

Both virtual and augmented reality are making dramatic leaps forward as different industries find ways to enhance the customer experience leveraging technology and smart devices. It is estimated that revenue from both AR and VR will reach $13.1 billion by 2020 and will further exceed $35 billion by 2025, owing to its adoption in gaming, education, fashion, healthcare, and entertainment industries.

One space where both AR and VR are tipping is Fitness segment, with a number of brands vying to bring AR and VR-enabled apps, accessories, and devices to transform the way we work out for good.

Revenue from both #AugmentedReality and #VirtualReality will reach $13.1 billion by 2020 via @einfochipsltd

Exploring the Potential of AR and VR in Fitness

Fitness is one of the industries that has leapfrogged the adoption of augmented and virtual reality. We see more and more people embracing the AR and VR technology as an imaginative and fun way to do workouts. There is an increase in the number of people opting to exercise independently at home with the help of virtual instructors who lead fitness classes. Oculus Rift is one such device in which users are trained by the virtual trainer through an exercise routine.

Interestingly, several brands like Samsung, Sony, Google, etc., have integrated AR and VR with their devices to provide a plethora of content and entertainment-focused fitness experience. Looking at this trend, experts forecast that the global smart wearable fitness and sports devices market will grow at a CAGR of 25.22% and 38.35% respectively during the period 2016-2020.

It is obvious that AR and VR have a potential to grow the fitness industry exponentially and reverse the trend of physical inactivity. It is also seen that VR and AR applied to fitness gives several health benefits. In this regard, Daniel Mestre, Senior Researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research says, “Coupling exercise to virtual reality results in a more enjoyable experience by contextualizing the exercise. It notably distracts the participant from exercise-induced pain.”

AR>VR in Fitness

When it comes to fitness, VR is more about providing immersive experiences through an opaque headset while AR is about giving digital imagery to users to experience the real, physical world. Thus, AR is notably different from VR, in that AR allows people to workout smarter by simulating a real environment with senses through computer-generated sensors.

Of late, there has been an introduction of AR-enabled hands-free devices to give an enhanced fitness solution with safer workouts. Google Glasses and Microsoft HoloLens are examples of these AR-enabled hands-free devices. These AR-enabled hands-free devices solve problems of sweaty hands, motion sickness, etc. Moreover, with devices like smartglass that create a personalized experience, AR adds more fun to fitness over and above motivating people with real-time data.

It is rightly said by Simon Barratt, director at Barog Game Labs, “I feel that AR is more interesting than VR for exercise, being able to see someone performing correct form in front of you while seeing the rest of your actual surroundings for safety.”

Thus, by incorporating augmented reality into the fitness regimen, users can add more utility and fun to workouts. Moreover, there are several other benefits of utilizing AR in fitness.

How Fitness Industry Can Thrive with AR

  1. Real-time Data
    One of the most beneficial aspects of utilizing AR in fitness is the availability of real-time data. For e.g.: A wearable device integrated with augmented reality helps a user identify the intensity of the workout, ensuring there is enough hard work without over-straining. The device also helps a user in recording and maintaining the heart rate at a moderate level based on the age. Not only this, there are several devices that track real-time data on the number of steps or distance covered by a user. With these data, a user can measure the quality of the workout, which can also turn out to be a huge motivator.
  1. Flexibility
    As discussed earlier, there are several devices that simulate the virtual environment of a gym along with providing a virtual trainer. By utilizing these devices, users can workout at their own pace, time and location rather than traveling to the gym at a fixed time. Thus, AR imparts flexibility to users without affecting the quality and intensity of the workout. Moreover, it gives a next-gen immersive experience that capitalizes on the rise of ‘at-home’ and ‘at-office’ workouts.
    For e.g.: A device named ARX FIT – adaptive resistance exercise with built-in augmented reality provides a powerful and flexible way to workout with a personalized trainer that can program individual workout of users based on their capacity, availability and keep a track of their strength level through a software. The best part if this device is that a user can see the trainers while working out and keep communicating with them. The device comes blended with AR Glasses that imitate the virtual environment along with a fun element of videos containing different exercise games.
  2. Competition and Shared Experiences
    With the help of AR-enabled apps and devices, users can record their data and share with each other. There are several devices and apps that come with a multi-user capacity to help users compare and compete with each other based on the workout score, kilometers run, time taken, etc., Moreover, with integrated social media, users can also share their workout data with friends to drive more motivation, competition and learning in their workout regimen.
  3. Entertainment
    Augmented reality also makes working out more interesting and entertaining by adding games, videos, and rewarding elements to reach the fitness goals. For people who aren’t much motivated to workout on a regular basis can be benefited with AR-enabled apps and devices that give an engaging and entertaining workout experience with daily tips, tutorial videos, and rewards on completion of specific stages.

A wearable device integrated with #AugmentedReality helps a user identify the intensity of the #workout with real-time data via @einfochipsltd

A Case in Point

Launch of AR Smartglasses by Everysight and Qualcomm to Reshape Cycling Experience

Everysight, the international market leader in providing AR products and helmet-mounted displays has recently launched AR Smartglasses called Raptor. Raptor is built on Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410E embedded platform using a custom board developed by eInfochips. These AR smartglasses are specially designed for cyclists and triathletes to enhance their workout and training by providing real-time information.

Raptor device features a multimedia display with rich-full graphics and overall lower power consumption. The Snapdragon 410E embedded platform helps display compute capabilities to the rider’s vision which includes route navigation, time, distance, speed, heart rate, cadence, and power. With true AR capabilities, this device displays sharp, high-resolution information into the user’s line of sight, while reducing eyestrain and keeping a rider’s vision clear. Moreover, it allows riders to control handlebars, voice command through a touch pad located on the temples. It also comes with a look-and-shoot camera that captures high definition video that can be uploaded and analyzed post-ride.

Overall, with these AR-enabled smartglasses, riders and cyclists can indulge in an engaging riding and take their cycling experience to the next level.

Wrapping Up

As more and more people embrace AR and VR, it is expected that fitness will never be the same again. Users, especially people who travel frequently will be able to workout from anyplace, anytime, without compromising on the experience and intensity.

Considering this, it is very important for companies that develop VR and AR devices and apps should not only concentrate on delivering fun, engaging and real-time fitness experience, but also focus on making these devices more accessible and affordable for people who are challenged with movements, impairment, or who live in remote areas where gymnasium or fitness centers are neither feasible nor  accessible.

eInfochips has expertise in developing AR and VR products leveraging Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410, 600 and 800/805 processors. We also provide ERAGON 820 SoM, that is a small form factor (53mmx25mm) module based on Snapdragon 820 processor for developing solutions requiring 4K, connectivity, high-end graphics, power and battery efficiency.

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