VirZOOM Arcade

VirZOOM Arcade

View Stats:
Vive wand alternative to Virzoom Bike?
I know that the goal here is to sell the Bike itself, but... I just don't see the point. Just make a 3d printed "wand holder" that can be designed to strap/clip onto the side of any bike/eliptical, and you could easily use the positioning of the vive wand to get speed inputs from your preferred exercise machine.
You woudn't even need to use BOTH wands for that, just one would track things plenty, so the other wand could be held in hand for menu navigation and in-game actions.

If this "open source" alternative was available, I'm sure it would draw more developers in to design games around that concept, which could also result in more games that Virzoom could integrate with and thus make it a more attractive purchase for those who don't have an exercise bike to begin with.

The only real advantage I see to the Virzoom is if it can adjust the tension/resistance or even the angle the bike sits at (hydrolic supports?) in order to simulate any changes in gradients you experience in the game. Does it already do something like that?
< >
Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
The game does get information from the bike about the tension setting you have it on (like the game knows what tension setting the bike is on, so you might get more points in certain games if you use a higher setting). The bike doesn't move or change the tension setting on it's own.

Maybe with the Vive wand, something like what you're talking about would be possible, but I still think it might be a little more complicated than what you're thinking. Honestly, I was thinking of trying to rig something up with the old stationary bike that's in my garage, sensors and a Google cardboard (which is the only VR platform I have that I can develop for at the moment - I actually use VirZoom with Playstation VR). After I thought about it, I thought "I don't really have time for this project," and decided to go ahead and buy the existing product. But if you have the time and resources to develop an alternative, go for it.
Last edited by GothicLollipop; Jan 2 @ 11:44pm
Jason at VirZOOM  [developer] Jan 3 @ 7:25am 
I know it probably looks that easy, but long story short, it is not. This comes up often enough I should probably add it to the FAQ, but here's a quick summary:

1. Early prototypes even experimented with something like this, letting you use your own bike on a trainer. It was not safe. When your eyes are covered and you feel like you're really there, in any game more intense than a leisurely ride through straight streets, you lean while steering without even realizing it. We needed a more safer, more stable solution.

2. The custom bike is way more responsive than we could ever get by just taping something to your pedals. It would indeed be easy just to measure speed by counting revolutions. It's a lot harder to make it so that you can inch backwards and forwards with only a little bit of pressure. That level of control is part of what makes the experience so immersive, and so more more comfortable than many other attempts at VR locomotion.

3. The bike also records things like tension control (used for scoring in one game so far) and heart rate (used to estimate calories burned).

And yeah, the bike is actually the item we sell. :) I encourage you to try VirZOOM it out sometime, if you are able! We do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if it doesn't impress you (because we are pretty confident it will).
If that's all, then a simple calibration could accomplish the same task. Just get a 10-20lbs/kgs weight and rest it on the same pedal the Vive wand is attached to. As long as the game is told what the weight being used is accurately, then the game could calculate the resistance based on how fast/slowly that weight is able to push the pedal down. (only real problem here is that it would have to be done on the honor system)
As far as accuracy, the Vive wands are accurate enough to toss and catch. It's not like they only track motion. Their specific position is tracked within the play area, so I don't see why they wouldn't be able to also track that specific bit of movement that would allow you to inch forward and backward.
On the point of stability: I get where you're coming from that people tend to lean, but I don't see how the VirZoom bike looks any better suited for stability than any other excersize bike. If anything it looks light and easy to fold up and store in a corner or closet. Most of the regular exercise bikes I've seen have looked way heavier than this, or at least with far more weight along the edges of the base.

It just seems like SOMEONE is going to wind up using this method sooner or later, and Virzoom seems to be the most likely to want to leverage this method, or update their current method to ensure that they can stay competetive if this method becomes popular.

Since the Vive wands could eventually be able to handle the tracking aspects generically. Virzoom should be seeking out other methods to stand out above those generic options, which seems best suited to come from the feedback side; adjust the tension dynamically, so during "uphill" portions of the game it increases and during "downhill" portions it decreases. (or alternatively to simulate switching up and down gears)
This seems like it could be added to the virzoom bike relatively cheaply, even as an optional accessory that manually controls the tension knob, which wouldn't be something that could be done generically, since each exercise bike has different methods of adjusting tension, and don't necessarily have an automatic solution.
Adding to this could be an optional hydrolic system that the base of the virzoom bike could be attached to, which would allow the player to feel the "shape" of the road to similuate riding a bike offroads and generally create more exhilirating experiences.
This would be another solution that could easily be attached to the Virzoom for a custom experience, but not easily made as a generic solution due to the wide variety of shapes and sizes that other exercise bikes come in.
Last edited by Grey Acumen; Jan 3 @ 8:46am
I'm not really sure I understand your reasoning about the weight. If you're talking about the tension setting, most if not all exercise bikes have a tension setting. It would make more sense to just manually enter that tension setting into the game if you needed to.

Reason #2 that Jason gave is actually exactly why I decided it wasn't worth screwing with sensors and a Google cardboard. What VirZoom does, it does really well. I wouldn't expect to be able to duplicate what the VirZoom team has done on my own--at least not without a very serious commitment of time and effort over several months.

Even what you're proposing for the Vive wand would take some time and effort to develop, and I wouldn't expect the person who puts that time and effort in to necessarily want to release it as an "open source" alternative. I'm not saying it wouldn't happen, obviously there are hobbyists out there that release all sorts of designs of things for free. We just shouldn't expect it all the time.

I'm not really anti-open source, mind you. There are a lot of good things coming out of the open source movement. It just shouldn't be impossible for serious developers and designers of things to make a living at what they do. If someone asks for compensation for their time and effort, people need to recognize that they have a right to do so.

So again, if you're going to put in the time and effort to try to come up with an "open source" alternative, I say go for it. Why wait for someone else to do it for you? You clearly have some ideas as to how to get this working. Keep us posted!

Also, the VirZoom bike is actually a lot heavier and sturdier than it looks, even though it doesn't take up a whole lot of space.
Originally posted by GothicLollipop:
I'm not really sure I understand your reasoning about the weight. If you're talking about the tension setting, most if not all exercise bikes have a tension setting. It would make more sense to just manually enter that tension setting into the game if you needed to.
I was looking at a more universal solution. You could enter in the tension setting manually, but what does a tension of 5 mean? Is that tension number representative of the same amount of force needed to turn the pedals across all bikes?
It's like asking if a size "medium" will actually fit, when you don't know anything about the manufacturer or country of origin of the apparel.
I would have no desire to jury rig up some kludge with weights and motion trackers on a stationary bike in my home. Sounds like a mess. Maybe if Virzoom was 2,000. But at 399 which includes around 120 in shipping. And 10 games. Why would I want to reinvent the wheel? My only desire is for VirZoom II Or add ons that more accurately collect cadance/speed/distance more accurately.
< >
Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
Per page: 15 30 50