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Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world-record holder, once said: “You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time.”

In times of social distancing, it is somehow often not easy to train with friends. Running around the block or the park is getting more and more lonely. The best way to stay motivated during a work-out is to have a running buddy. Difficult to train when most of the world is either on lock-down or having virtual parties on Zoom.

Using AR glasses in times of pandemics

This may change soon with The Ghost Pacer, a project which just raised $151,193 on Kickstarter. When considering that the funding goal was set at $25,000, we can say that they crushed their goals. Their product successfully convinced backers.

We had no doubt about that! But what is this innovative fitness product we are talking about?

The product we would like to present today fits perfectly in the Digital Health and Fitness worlds. A group of bright young developers invented an augmented reality (AR) training partner that will never let you down.

The ghost pacer is an augmented reality solution that carries many potentials and brings AR technology for training. The concept is to use an On-Demand Holographic Running Partner to help improve fitness and performance. Most importantly, the Augmented Reality training glasses will give you more fun while running alone and will keep you motivated.

The lightweight glasses will make the most of Augmented Reality (AR) technology. The stylish glasses will display a hologram that will enable racing in the physical world against a computer-generated AR training partner. The glasses make the most of mixed reality meaning that when wearing it, you will still see the environment around you and run safely.

The Seattle based company engineered an ultra-bright 1280 x 720 LED screen and a powerful mini-computer in just 3.17 oz (90 grams) glasses. With 3965 pixels per inch and a 40-degree augmented reality field of view, the headset offers a crisp and engaging experience.

The sunglasses integrate various sensors, GPS, gyroscopes and accelerometers, to allow the hologram to run in a natural way and not to start flying away.

Powered by an 800 mAh battery, the glasses will last more than 6 hours and recharge in just one hour via USB-C. It will give you more than enough time to train for a marathon…if this is your ultimate running goal.

Full integration with Stava and smartwatches

The holographic glasses are dust and splash resistant. They connect to a smartphone to make the most of the Strava fitness app. The app allows users to compete against virtual running partners. You also have the possibility to use the previous training paths to let you try to improve your performances in the same conditions.

The iOs or Android can also replicate a previous workout’s path and speed recorded by a friend. It offers a great way to feel like you are never running alone. Interestingly, the training avatar will not always stay at the same distance from you.

Depending on your pace, the virtual runner will accelerate or decelerate. The avatar will also adapt its speed to the elevation and the different terrains. By constantly challenging you to do better, your performance will gradually improve.

The Ghost pacer’s pro version also offers the ability to connect with your favorite smartwatch. The premium version will personalize the workouts and training plans to challenge you and deliver a fun workout. The app also records the heart rate to check your heart health in real-time.

An interesting feature of integrating the sunglasses with the app is that you will not need your phone anymore once your path has been programmed. The Ghost Pacer will take care of everything. Information about the direction or pace will be projected directly in front of you. It will let you concentrate on your workout and enjoy a completely free running experience.

We can only regret that the avatar looks a little bit too “avatar” and robotic. We hope that a new version of the software will offer more human-looking training partners to fit the real world better. What would be great would be to be able to customize the avatar. Food for thoughts!

Augmented reality for runners by runners

The company’s founders are marathon runners themselves and know what it takes to train hard. Interestingly, the company’s founders attended the same High School, Lakeside in Seattle, as Bill Gates. According to Jensen Turner, the company’s CTO, “This is a fitness product that implements mixed reality to add a competitive boost to each workout. We like to think of the Ghost Pacer as being built FOR runners, BY runners.”

The team also plans to develop slower indoor training programs where forms and movements are critical. AR applications for Yoga are on their roadmap. AR developers will also have the ability to expand the Ghost pacer’s potential.

Using mixed reality, the workout becomes more fun and efficient. The learning experience provided by mixing physical objects with mobile devices and AR apps is optimized. The company claims that the glasses are the lightest mixed reality headset ever…and we believe them.

By using these augmented reality training glasses, not only will you have fun while running alone, but you will also contribute to limiting the spread of the virus. We hope that the Ghost Pacer will receive the success it deserves and can not wait to go for a run with our new virtual coach.

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