Virtual reality gets real in European fitness clubs

10 Jan 2017

Virtual reality goggles and devices equipped with artificial intelligence are set to spread in European fitness clubs in the next years, judging from a raft of fitness-focused technological advances and partnerships unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Among the most prominent tie-ups, Life Fitness moved into virtual reality through a partnership with VirZoom, a maker of virtual reality games. They have come up with a VR module that connects to Life Fitness bikes, and intend to start organising pilot VR competitions in commercial fitness clubs in the next weeks.

Players will be using the pedal stroke to take part in a virtual car race or to drive around as a tank commander. The VR module should work with any Life Fitness cycle equipped with the Discover SE3 console, which was launched by the company last year.

“The VirZoom and Life Fitness partnership expands the world of virtual reality into commercial fitness facilities,” said Spencer Honeyman, VirZoom’s director of business development, in a statement.

Virtual reality competitions using this equipment should get started rapidly in Europe, although discussions have yet to be finalised. “We should have the pilot set up in a few European clubs by the end of the month, starting with the U.K.,” said Leon Rudge, director of digital experience at Life Fitness. “Then we should be ready to get the concept going in clubs across Europe by the end of the quarter, with education and engagement strategies for the operators.”

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