New “Virtual Runner” App Announced

It allows users to experience popular running routes on a treadmill.

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It allows users to experience popular running routes on a treadmill.

From: Running USA

BOSTON – Outside Interactive, a Boston-based startup and developer of forward motion video software technology for treadmill runners, today released its Virtual Runner app for the iPad that allows viewers to run popular running routes virtually all from the safety and comfort of their own treadmill. The high definition videos are shot from a runner’s point of view and allow the runner to interactively view different virtual running routes as if they were on the course itself.

“The idea is to work with any treadmill and iPad,” said Gary McNamee, Outside Interactive’s president and founder. “Running on a treadmill can be a very boring experience for many. Our idea is to make the experience more engaging allowing users to learn different race courses before running the race, or view popular running routes of locations such as Central Park or the Washington Mall, or even scenic destinations such as Bali or the Australian Outback, all interactively while at home, at the gym, or on the road.”

How does it work?

Virtual Runner’s patent pending technology is designed to work with a runner’s existing hardware. No special treadmill is required. The Virtual Runner app is downloaded to an iPad along with selected course videos. A footpod is attached to the runner’s shoelace and a wireless receiver is plugged into the user’s iPad.

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Once the app is launched, there is a brief countdown and then the course video begins to play on the iPad or HDTV using Apple Airplay. While running, the footpod transmits the runner’s stats to the iPad. The receiver then sends this information to the Virtual Runner software, which adjusts the speed of the video. If the runner runs faster, the video will speed up. If they slow down, the video will slow down, all to the exact pace of the runner. In addition, an on screen dashboard displays overall time, average pace, distance run and cadence. Heart rate is also displayed if the user wears an optional heart rate monitor.

The audio component contains the actual natural sounds captured when the footage was shot, which are not affected by speed change. Users can also listen to their music playlist if they choose. Runners have the option of starting anywhere along a given route by mile or kilometer or saved state, so a course can be broken up and covered over several runs.

The Virtual Runner app is available for $9.99 at the iTunes Store with the videos ranging from $4.99 to $9.99 and up for noted races and marathons. The app is compatible with accessories utilizing ANT+™ wireless technology. These accessories are what interactively drive the Virtual Runner app. ANT+ is the de facto standard in wireless for sports watches and accessories in the health and fitness industry from such manufacturers as Garmin®, Timex®, Adidas®, Wahoo Fitness® and Suunto®. With these accessories, the user interactively and accurately controls the video speed. If the user does not have or wish to purchase these accessories, they still have the option of manually setting and adjusting the video speed to match their pace by an onscreen slide control