Cycling is a great exercise and nothing is better if you can combine travel with it. As much as many people would like to tour the world on a bicycle, they simply can't because of their busy schedules. Aaron Puzey has come up with one alternative, taking the help of a Virtual Reality headset.
Puzey sits on a stationary cycle, similar to an exercise cycle, dons his VR headset and uses Google Street View to get the feel of cycling outside. He 'travels' to different cities in the UK and cycles through them.
He is currently on a 1500-kilometre journey across Britain, from the south to the north, and, so far, he has covered half the distance. Puzey posts videos of his experience on his blog, Cycle VR.
Puzey began his VR journey from southernmost Britain, at Land's End, on 15 May and as of 8 August had reached Manchester.
The technology stack, including the app that lets him cycle the country using Google Street View, has been developed by Puzey himself. He uses Samsung Gear VR as his VR headset.
"I'd been daydreaming for a while about the possibility of using VR to make it a bit more fun," Puzey told The Verge.
"The single biggest problem with the Street View data is the high compression on the depth information. Some things, like buildings, fit very well to this model and look quite solid, but things like trees and hedges and anything lumpy often just looks a mess. Yet, I feel I am there," he added.
While the project seems like a lot of fun, executing it proved to be a challenge for Puzey. It is not possible to traverse through streets on Google Street View smoothly as the pictures are captured every four metres. So Puzey used another open source street explorer that merges with Google Street View for a smoother experience.
He also uses a bluetooth monitor to capture the pedalling data. Once he has reached his goal, Puzey plans to upload a detailed tutorial for others on how to carry out the project.
In the future, he wants to add more features to the app. Some of the notable existing features include a reverse gear, a live map on the handle bar, and a counter that displays the number of kilometres remaining.