Saturday, August 29, 2009

An "Expresso" machine for the rest of life

The local fitness center has added the world's coolest fitness machine. It's called an Expresso Bicycle, and it's a stationary bike that powers a video game.

The screen in front of the bicycle places you in a race or tour, with other, fictional riders, and you pedal, shift, and steer to run the course. When you're going uphill onscreen, the pedaling becomes more difficult, and you have to shift accordingly.

I'm interested in this merger between real-life activity (i.e., pedaling) and virtual rewards (having the pixels on the screen show you winning a race), and I wonder if this concept could be applied elsewhere.

Maybe with my job, I could play a game in which I read and run analysis and periodically it shows me publishing a virtual book or article.

Or maybe at home, I show attention to my children and then a game shows my children growing up to be healthy and happy.

Or maybe I could do chores around the house and the get on-line kudos.

Maybe this is a new way of reducing social strain--society gives you goals, and then on-line games give you the means to meet this goals, at least virtually.

If nothing else, that Expresso machine really does give a good work out.

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