Playpulse One combines gaming and stationary cycling in one device
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.
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.