There has been a lot in the blogsphere over the last twelve months about virtual world and matters of health.
For example, there’s Fran Seranade (Fran Swenson in SL) and the benefits she’s personally experienced in using Second Life as a sufferer of Parkinson’s disease which has led to Donna Davis of the University of Oregon and Tom Boellstorff, an anthropology professor at UC Irvine researching the matter in-world. Virtual Ability has a long history of helping people with disabilities make full use of SL for the betterment of their real lives, and the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses is based in Second Life. There have also been numerous projects involving medical workers, such as the research performed by a team at the Imperial College London to improve patient management skills among surgical residents at hospitals.
Now over on InWorldz, the team there have taken things a step further – literally and figuratively – with an app which allows you to exercise at home while still exploring InWorldz.
InWorldz InShape is currently available for Android devices, although iOS / Windows versions are promised for the future. It essentially gathers data on your real-world exercising when using a treadmill, stationary exercise bike or elliptical bike / trainer, and translates it to in-world movement. Thus, people using it can explore in-world regions with their avatar which exercising, and even compete against one another.
The app and idea are still very much beta, but already InWorldz residents have built a park where those with the app can go for walks / runs / rides, and there are plans to start weekly exercise sessions, allowing users to meet in-world and go through a routine together on a “group treadmill” while also exercising at home. The InWorldz team also hope that residents will build race tracks, walks and so on to make use of the app and offer further opportunities for combining fitness training with in-world activities with friends, making it easy to keep fit together.
An InWorldz beta programme for the app has been launched, and the InWorldz team are looking for people to join them in trying it out. Those wishing to sign-up will need to have an InWorldz account and meet the following requirements:
- Be in good enough physical health to start or participate in a light exercise programme (consulte your doctor if you have any concerns)
- have enough time to participate in testing once a week, during the weekend, for about 45 minutes
- own or have access to an android powered phone (Android 2.3.3 or later)
- own or have access to: An exercise bike, elliptical, or treadmill and a computer or tablet that can run a viewer (/Lumiya) connected to the InWorldz Grid.
Those meeting these criteria can register their interest at the InWorldz website.
A demo video has been produced, hosted by InWorldz’s own Tranquility Dexler, which provides an in-depth look at the app in use.
This looks like a very practical and fun application for a virtual world environment, and could potentially see a lot of new opportunities for competitive undertakings in-world or bring a whole new dimension to something like the RFL track walks for people – again, providing due care is taken with RL fitness condition.
I’m keen to sign-up myself, but I don’t have the requisite exercise equipment. I wonder if they’ll ever be able to include a rowing machine and a lake to paddle across …?
- InWorldz website
- InWorldz InShape video demonstration (YouTube)
- InWorldz InShape overview
- InWorldz InShape beta registration (log-in to the InWorldz website required).
All images courtesy of InWorldz.