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Playpulse One combines gaming and stationary cycling in one device

Playpulse One combines gaming ...
The Playpulse One can be preordered for US$1,199, and will have a retail price of $1,999
The Playpulse One can be preordered for US$1,199, and will have a retail price of $1,999
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The Playpulse One can be preordered for US$1,199, and will have a retail price of $1,999
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The Playpulse One can be preordered for US$1,199, and will have a retail price of $1,999
Playpulse One users can play games individually, or with other users online
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Playpulse One users can play games individually, or with other users online
The Playpulse One game PedalTanks
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The Playpulse One game PedalTanks
The Playpulse One's gaming controllers
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The Playpulse One's gaming controllers
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Although it's definitely a good idea to use an exercise bike, motivating oneself to do so can sometimes be difficult. That's where the Playpulse One comes in, as it's an exercise bike with a built-in gaming system – and the pedalling action is part of the games.

The device originated as the focus of the master's thesis of Playpulse co-founder Kristoffer Hagen, when he was studying exercise gaming at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He joined forces with former Microsoft developer Stian Weie and entrepreneur Erling Magnus Solheim to develop the commercial version of the bike.

While the resulting Playpulse One may look like a traditional exercise bike at first glance, it incorporates dual haptic-feedback gaming controllers in its handlebars. Working in conjunction with a pedalling cadence sensor and bar-integrated heart rate sensors, these allow users to play a variety of system-specific video games on the 24-inch touchscreen display. The faster they pedal, the faster they move through the gaming environment.

The Playpulse One game PedalTanks
The Playpulse One game PedalTanks

Riders can play on their own, or with/against other Playpulse users online. The system will ship with four games included, although we're told that dozens of others are currently in development. These and more will be included in a continuously expanding online library, accessible via a paid subscription.

Users will also be able to watch streaming video from existing platforms such as Netflix. If they wish, they can enable the system to require them to pedal in order to keep the video rolling – if they stop, so does the TV program.

The Playpulse One can now be pre-ordered for an introductory price of US$1,199 – that includes six months of free access to the game library, after which users will have to pay $19.99 per month. Plans call for the bike to be officially launched in the fourth quarter of this year, retail-priced at $1,999.

You can see examples of some of the gaming action in the following video. Potential buyers might also want to check out the VirZoom system, which lets users play pedal-powered VR games on existing exercise bikes.

Source: Playpulse

Meet Playpulse ONE

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1 comment
1 comment
Daishi
I agree with the premise that there is a lot of untapped value in gamifying exercise. One of the biggest challenges to exercise is that our brains are used to being constantly stimulated and working out is kind of boring. Another one is that in things like games minor amounts of progress are very measurable but progress in exercise is a bit harder. Video games have mastered the art of giving you small dopamine hits for daily logins or completing daily quests but we are less accountable to skipping workouts. Working out with a partner or a group (like Peloton) helps with accountability a bit but there is a lot to be learned about how to motivate people to do mindless tasks from video games. People will literally skip working out and do chores like daily quests inside a video game instead because those minor tasks provide direct incremental progress towards something they want that wouldn't be achievable without it. The implementation details still matter but the principal is on point. So far the first big success in this area is probably Pokémon GO but I'm sure over time there will be other similar home runs. The more cynic side of me would say to take the lessons employed by social networks to give people small dopamine fixes to use their platforms in exchange for targeted advertising dollars could be employed to encourage people to be more active. There are lessons in video game addiction and MMO's as well. If the same tactics and efforts are used to encourage people to work out at least you can (sort of) take the moral high ground.