Imagine if you could go for a bicycle ride through the mountains, or in any of the best cycling destinations, but from the comfort of your home.
A Hyderabad-based startup Loop reality lets you do just that. The company has developed an IoT-based virtual reality device connected to a stationary bike. While giving you a great riding experience, the idea is to keep the user fit.
The idea came to founders Jignesh Talasila, Suraj Vanka, Ravitheja Muthu, Karthik KV and Raviteja Koneru when they realized the scope of virtual reality in India, which needed adoption. Virtual reality is slowly making its way into the country and is being used fields like medicine, gaming and for mobile viewing.
But one field that the founders thought virtual reality could actually contribute to, was fitness. What if you could make fitness training interesting, immersive and convenient?
With that thought in mind, they built an IoT-enabled smart trainer that can be attached to the back tyre of a bicycle. This is combined with a VR headset and a computer that supports virtual reality.
All you have to do is hop on the cycle, strap-on the VR headset and get cycling. To make the experience real, the IoT device on the smart trainer gives resistance when thereâ€™s an uphill and releases it in a downhill route. So when there is an uphill, you will actually have to peddle faster and can take it easy on a downhill.
â€śWe use VR, IoT and analytics for the product. The VR creates the immersive-ness environment for the product, IoT creates the resistance when the user is going up and down and the analytics is used to replace the trainer part of it. It will calculate calories burnt, heart rate and give you the whole stats of what you need to work more on in terms of fitness,â€ť says Suraj Vanka, CTO, Loop Reality.
Loop Reality is targeting the product at the B2B segment. â€śOur targeting customers could be gyms, health clubs or corporate offices. The cost of the package is about $4,000 which includes the smart trainer, a VR-compatible computer with a VR headset.
What makes the whole experience immersive is the riding environments built by the team. The riding environments have been designed in-house keeping the high intensity interval training workout module in mind to give users a complete workout.
With a fully-functional prototype ready, Loop Reality is in the process of manufacturing the industrial product.
â€śWhile we have B2B, we also have plans of getting into the B2C segment in a few months after B2B launch. We are also looking at experimenting with other forms of fitness â€“ could be a treadmill, a rowing machine, kick-boxing and few others,â€ť says Karthik KV, Lead (internal ops), Loop Reality.
For B2C, the target audience will mostly be the Scandinavian and European countries. And with more VR headsets coming into the Indian market and play stations and Xbox going that way too, Loop reality hopes to capture the Indian market as well.
The soft launch is expected to happen by July and Loop Reality has already received several expressions of interest and an order from its incubator T-Hub. The first batch will see 200 devices being made.
Loop Reality is a part of Hyderabad-based incubator T-Hub. Speaking of its association with Loop Reality's innovation, Srinivas Kollipara, Founder & COO, T-Hub said â€śAs the next crest of technology revolution, virtual reality provides enormous scope for innovation but like any other emerging segment, it is fraught with market uncertainty. Indian startups have however, not shied away from exploring this field â€“ they are developing game changing products and business models that are tailor made for target audiences both on local and international levels. As a startup engine, we are keenly following the sector. For a startup like Loop Reality, that has a ready-made product, we facilitate networking with a diverse set of mentors and investors and open up avenues for participation in international competitions. By putting them on a global map, we enable these startups to penetrate mature markets, thereby amplifying their scalability quotient.â€ť
There is still a long way to for Loop Reality in terms establishing itself in India. But as the VR market matures in the country and the kind of interest it has already garnered from just the showcase of the prototype, Loop Reality is confident of becoming a strong player in the indoor fitness industry.
This article has been produced with inputs from T Hub as a part of a partner program.