March 6, 2008 Planning to climb Everest? You may want to do some training first and this prototype Fitness@home virtual training system is just the ticket. New technology developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology (FIRST) in Berlin transports the mountain training ground - or any other outdoor training scenario - straight into your lounge room.

The mountain workout system - which combines altitude acclimatization and climbing - consists of a stepper, specially designed projector and an oxygen mask that delivers individually regulated supply of oxygen and scents to create a virtual outdoor training center. The purpose of the system is to provide integral training by combining exercise with visual and olfactory stimuli and oxygen, thereby creating the most realistic experience possible without leaving the building. The oxygen system will be capable of being integrated with a range of other fitness devices such as treadmills and stationary bikes or as a simulator for activities like boating (pictured).

The projection technology developed by FIRST projects razor-sharp images in one piece onto any surfaces, no matter the curvature. Specially designed software automatically calibrates the projectors and merges the images with pixel-precise accuracy up to a resolution of 4096 x 2048 pixels... all designed to give the user an immersive, "as if you were there" experience.

FIRST’s fitness and oxygen equipment partner, pro4senses GmbH, is currently working on a system that could measure the level of oxygen in the user’s breathing air and then suitably adjust the degree of difficulty of the training program and doses the supply of oxygen accordingly. The Fitness@home system has the potential for various applications in the home such as general fitness training, preparation for competitive sports, therapeutic treatment or simply personal entertainment. The technology is on display to the public for the first time this week at CeBIT in Hanover.

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