Ghost Pacer AR headset pits you against a virtual running partner
Any runner will tell you that it’s easier to keep pace or beat your personal bests when running with a partner, rather than alone. A new headset called the Ghost Pacer makes sure you can do that even when your friends are busy, by pitting you against a virtual avatar only you can see.
The Ghost Pacer is an augmented reality (AR) headset, meaning it overlays virtual images onto the real world. This fascinating technology already lets users play location-based versions of Pokémon and Minecraft, sleuth out clues in true crime mysteries, or check what Ikea furniture would look like in your home before you buy it.
Now the tech is being put to work in improving workouts. When looking through the visor, the Ghost Pacer headset seems to project an avatar onto the path ahead of you. This virtual training partner can be set to run at a certain pace, or even synced to represent a past running session, either your own or a friend’s.
And it’s not just an unattainable carrot-on-a-stick, either. The avatar doesn’t just hover in front of you forever – you could overtake it, or it could leave you in the dust, depending on your performance.
It’s all controlled through the Ghost Pacer app, which lets users set the avatar’s route and speed, and record their performance like other workout trackers. It also syncs to Strava, a social media network for runners and cyclists, which lets it convert other people’s runs into routes for the avatar to follow.
Power-wise, the headset itself is no HoloLens, but it doesn’t need to be. The main concern is that it’s light and agile enough to wear while running, so the Ghost Pacer looks like a slightly-bulkier-than-usual pair of sunglasses, weighing just 90 g (3.2 oz). The display has a resolution of 1,280 x 720 and a 30-degree field of view. The battery apparently lasts up to six hours, and takes one hour to charge via USB-C.
There’s also a Pro version of the headset, which can connect to some smartwatch models to gather more detailed data. It can also sync with the Vimazi RunCrush app to help the avatar change its pace at different stages of the route.
The Ghost Pacer is definitely an interesting use of AR tech, but of course without trying it ourselves we can’t be sure exactly how well it works at this early stage.
The Ghost Pacer is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, where it’s already raised over US$82,000, smashing its $25,000 target. Super early bird pledges start at $199 for the regular model, and $219 for the Pro version. If all goes to plan, shipping should begin in July 2021.
Check it out in action in the video below.