The day is fast approaching when a holodeck in our living room may not be so far-fetched. First shown at CeBIT 2008, the Fitness@home virtual training system (PDF) is a first step toward a simulated reality facility, though we can hear Star Trek fans snorting at its baby steps. Still, this brainchild of Berlin's Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology (FIRST) is the closest we've seen in conjuring up some virtual-reality wizardry to place you anywhere you fancy: Mt. Everest, if you plan to do some serious StairMaster climbing, National Geographic-style; the Beijing Olympics, if you want to square off against China's hurdle champ Liu Xiang.
The outdoor training scenario is limited only by the program, which combines a stepper, a specially designed projector, and an oxygen mask that delivers individually regulated supplies of air and scents to create a virtual training center. In fact, the oxygen system can reportedly be integrated with a range of fitness devices, from treadmills to even simulators for activities like boating, to provide a realistic and immersive experience.
(Source: Crave Asia)