For $40, you can add virtual reality to boring stationary biking

Riding a stationary bike may be good exercise, but unless there’s a TV nearby, it’s pretty dull. To spice up his own indoor rides, Paul Yan decided to add some virtual reality cool to his boring workouts. We’ve seen this kind of thing before, but instead of it costing hundreds, or even thousands of dollars; Paul spent just $40.

In a YouTube video, he shows how the whole setup works. It began with an Arduino circuit board with a Bluetooth link to a smartphone — in this case, an iPhone 6S Plus. An optical tachometer was fitted to the board, which cleverly monitors the amount of time it takes for a wheel to complete a single revolution. In other words, it measures movement and speed, plus it’s suitable for any bike, regardless of the wheel type or size. Actually, it’ll work with any exercise equipment that has a rotating part. Powered by a 9v battery, the speed-measuring Arduino is placed next to the rear wheel, where it recognizes a strip on the tire as its starting point.

Now comes the cool bit. Using a custom made iOS app, and a pre-built 3D world powered by the Unity 3D game engine, the iPhone is slipped into a VR headset ready for the ‘cyclist’ to wear. Instead of a wall, the TV, or the sweaty back of another gym-goer to stare at, it transports you into a colorful, game-like 3D city. Peddle away, and you’re off on a tour. The headset used cost $10, and is compatible with Google Cardboard, which can be had for free provided you come up with a way to secure it on your face.

At the moment, the cyclist doesn’t have control over where the bike goes in the virtual world — it has its own preset path. However, Yan says this could easily be changed with a little more work, making it possible to freely roam around this, or any other, environment installed in the app. It’s a fun way of turning a dull pastime into something a lot more exciting, without spending out on an overly complicated — or shockingly expensive — VR sports equipment. The whole build is detailed on his blog.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Insect drones and kinetic sculpture robots

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Cannondale’s Treadwell app features bring a new joy to casual biking

The Cannondale Treadwell is a bike designed with beginners in mind, using an app-connected technology to help them not only navigate their rides more fully, but also send helpful reminders of maintenance and other needs.

Walmart slashes prices on electric hybrid bicycles for National Bike Month

Electric bikes can be economical, convenient, and fun. Heading into summer, Walmart slashed the prices for two pedal-assist Hyper E-ride Mountain and City Electric Hybrid Bikes by 40%. We found a variety of e-rides for under $1,000.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.

Valve Index VR headset costs $500, but the full bundle will set you back $1,000

Valve is stepping into the VR market with the high-end Index, and the company finally revealed the price and release date. The Index can be purchased individually or as part of a couple of bundles.

Oculus Rift S gets a release date, pre-orders are now available

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and will be released in May.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Quest taunts some customers after arriving more than two weeks early

The Oculus Quest has arrived early for some customers. The standalone VR headset, which is not supposed to ship out until May 21, is taunting the people who now have it in their hands due to limitations with the Oculus mobile app.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.

Minecraft AR teased during Microsoft Build 2019, full reveal arrives on May 17

At the Vision Keynote during the first day of Microsoft Build 2019, we saw a short trailer of what looks to be Minecraft AR, an upcoming experience coming to mobile devices. Watch the video here and join us for the full reveal on May 17.

As AR heads to Google search, Lens learns to translate, add tips, and more

Google Lens can soon help you decide what to eat by scanning the menu, then calculate the tip with one look at the receipt. Translation options are also expanding for Lens, while augmented reality tools will be built into search results.

Google’s ARCore is getting better at tracking moving images

Google has announced a series of updates to ARCore that should make the augmented reality experience a whole lot more fluid. For example, ARCore is getting better at tracking moving images through Augmented Images.

Nike Fit aims to help you slip into your new sneakers more easily

Nike says a new augmented reality feature for its app should increase the chances of a snug fit for customers buying its shoes online, or even in-store. Nike Fit launches in the U.S. in July and the following month in Europe.

Dive headfirst into the best VR experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist on it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Virtual Reality

Your first augmented reality work helmet might be made by Lenovo

A new augmented reality headset from Lenovo could challenge Microsoft's dominance in the commercial AR industry, with the ThinkReality A6 offering an AR experience akin to something between the first and second-generation Hololens headsets.