Personal virtual reality bicycling has arrived in Japan and was unveiled for the first time at an introductory event held at B&B Italia showroom in Tokyo's Gaienmae at the end of July, to a select group of visionary businessmen and investors.
This new type of virtual reality bike, called ebove by its developers, is like no other in that, instead of just spinning in front of a video screen, you actually "feel" the road or mountain path you’ve chosen for your workout or race. If you’ve choose a mountain path, you’ll feel all the bumps, rocks. Twists and hairpin turns along the way. When you go up a hill, the bike will actually tilt up and you need to switch gears and peddle harder. When you go downhill, the bike tilts down and you can coast, but you’ll have to use the brakes to avoid going over a steep cliff.
The ebove eVR is represented globally by an Osaka based company called Knorthrun Inc and was developed in Norway by a highly skilled team of artists, engineers, mainframe architects and software specialists for a company called Activetainment led by CEO and co-founder Sondre Fossum and CMO and co-founder, Jan Svoller. These two men brought two samples of their e-bikes to Japan for attendees to try, and they join us for this interview.
As you’ll see in our video, the bikes are highly sophisticated, and rugged enough to handle a man weighing 130 kgs or more.
These new e-bikes might likely be best suited for VIP use in fitness centers in 5-star hotels, private clubs, cruise ships and/or for personal home use. These bikes also use WiFi to connect to the internet so that you can find and connect to other ebove users anywhere within the speed of light and challenge them to a race. All you need to do is choose a specific date, time and course for your race and invite a few friends or as many users as you want, globally.
There are currently more than 32 courses to choose from around the world which could be the streets of Paris, Rome, Venice or New York, or if you prefer, perhaps something a little more challenging, like a steep, downhill, extremely dangerous mountain path.
More virtual reality courses are being developed every day, and when I asked “Do you have a course for Tokyo yet?” CEO Fossum responded “Not yet.”
So, ebove has something for everyone no matter if you want to challenge friends to a race, explore other cities via all the various virtual reality courses, or use the ebove as a exercise machine to simply stay fit or tone up.
However, the "killer app" for this new breed of e-bikes will be in the world of gaming, but we’ll reserve going into that topic until our next report.