SXSW Features ‘Active Esport’ VR Event Using Infinity Treadmill
Blue Goji hosts fitness-focused VR tournaments using their award-winning treadmill.
With the annual SXSW festival well underway in Austin, Texas, attendees have been up to their necks in brand spanking new films, music, interactive media, food, and various other incredible offerings at the one-of-a-kind event. The presence of bleeding-edge technology in particular has received increased support over the past few years, turning the festival into a perfect showcase for VR in the process.
Last year, health and wellness technology company Blue Goji debuted their Infinity Treadmill at both SXSW in Austin and IHRSA in San Diego, showing off a unique form of VR locomotion that features a combination treadmill and security-sensor belt designed to support various cardio and training exercises. From gamers and gym rats, to student and professional athletes, “the infinity is specifically designed to accommodate individualized cardio training, conditioning, and rehab programs as well as new types of game-infused therapeutic innovations such as VR-enabled rehabilitation.”
This year, Blue Goji put their proprietary locomotion system to the test with ‘active eSports’ competitions that combined competitive VR gameplay with fitness. Dubbed ‘Infinity eSports,’ the competition had users going head-to-head in a fast-paced race across a perilous mountain landscape fraught with danger. While traversing through mountain passes, they were forced to navigate narrow cliffs, hair-pin turns, and elevated climbs; all culminating in a massive jump during which players could perform a daring back-flip for extra points.
This years winner took home a whopping $1,000 Amazon gift card, while the runner-up received a respectable $500.
“Before we gear up for production, we are already seeing early, very promising results from our own testing as well as initial studies by independent research partners,” stated Coleman Fung, Blue Goji co-founder and chief executive officer. “For example, when you need an extra push to finish that high-intensity workout or training, Infinity could be the X-factor to get you there with fun, immersive gameplays.”
“Another exciting result was reported by a geriatric doctor: older adults with limited mobility were showing an improved range of motion while playing our VR game! We are looking forward to supporting these and other advanced studies – that is, after completing an Infinity conditioning program, could older adults display and maintain their improved mobility in their daily activities? – with our production machines and new games.”
As VR treadmills continue to rise in popularity, it’s refreshing to see a more conventional treadmill approach as opposed to the multiple omnidirectional treadmills currently in development. While limited in its ability to provide multi directional locomotion, Blue Goji’s Infinity Treadmill could be the perfect solution for VR experiences revolving around physicality, such as exercise, training, and rehabilitation. The device is also open to conventional 2D content, allowing anyone to begin integrating the technology into their project.