Outside Interactive Releases Virtual Runner App for Android for Treadmill Workouts


Outside Interactive Releases Virtual Runner App for Android for Treadmill Workouts

January 23rd, 2015

Users can now view race courses, popular running routes and scenic destinations interactively from their Android tablet while running on any treadmill.

Hopkinton, MA (January 23, 2015) – Outside Interactive, a Hopkinton, Massachusetts based startup and developer of forward motion video software technology for treadmill runners, today released its Virtual Runner app for Android that allows viewers to run marquee race courses, popular running routes and scenic destinations virtually, all from the safety and comfort of a treadmill. The high definition videos are shot from a runner’s point of view and allow the runner to interactively view different virtual running routes as if they were on the course itself. The release of Virtual Runner for Android will now complement the app’s compatibility to iOS and Window’s operating systems.

“The idea is to work with any treadmill and Android tablet,” said Gary McNamee, Outside Interactive’s president and founder. “Running on a treadmill can be a very boring experience for many. Our idea is to make the experience more engaging allowing users to learn different race courses before running the race or even compete remotely from anywhere in the world. Geography is no longer a limitation. Courses can be run interactively, while at home, at the gym, or on the road.”

How does it work?

Virtual Runner’s patent pending technology is designed to work with a runner’s existing hardware. No special treadmill is required. The Virtual Runner app is downloaded to an Android tablet along with selected course videos. Video speed can then be adjusted manually to the runner’s pace to experience various courses interactively.  An optional footpod can also be used, which can be attached to the runner’s shoelace. An ANT+TM wireless receiver is plugged into the user’s Android device controlling video speed to match the runner’s pace. In addition, an on screen dashboard displays overall time, average pace, distance run and cadence. Heart rate is also displayed if the user wears an optional heart rate monitor.

The audio component contains the actual natural sounds captured when the footage was shot, which are not affected by speed change. Users can also listen to their music playlist if they choose. Runners have the option of starting anywhere along a given route by mile or kilometer or saved state, so a course can be broken up and covered over several runs.

The Virtual Runner app along with sample course videos are free on Google Play. Compatible videos are for sale and download with prices ranging from $2.99 to $12.99 and up for noted races and marathons. The app is compatible with accessories utilizing ANT+™ wireless technology. These accessories are what interactively drive the Virtual Runner app. ANT+TM is the de facto standard in wireless for sports watches and accessories in the health and fitness industry from such manufacturers as Garmin®, Timex®, Adidas®, Wahoo Fitness® and Suunto®. With these accessories, the user interactively and accurately controls the video speed. If the user does not have or wish to purchase these accessories, they still have the option of manually setting and adjusting the video speed to match their pace in 5 second increments by onscreen control.

Virtual Runner in Health Clubs

“We’re seeing more and more members working out with their tablets these days,” said Ted Kyranos, Executive Director, of Old Colony YMCA in the Boston area. “Being able to run virtual race courses or even through Central Park or the Australian Outback right on the treadmill here in the Y is pretty compelling. Keeping a member engaged and motivated, it’s a great idea.”

Virtual Runner at the Races

Outside Interactive has also been working with various race directors and race owners to showcase their event in a whole new way by highlighting their race courses on the day of the event, allowing runners to experience the races virtually, on their treadmill at their pace. Viewers can learn the race courses with their landmarks and elevation shifts, relive the race day experience, or run a virtual course they may be unable to travel to. Course videos for use with the Virtual Runner app would be available for purchase and download on the race’s website site, Outside Interactive’s video repository iTunes or Google Play.

Having a chance to preview a course beforehand is a great tool to have,” said Dave McGillivray, President of DMSE Sports and Race Director for more than 30 different road races annually around the U.S. “Often people from out of town fly in to run a race and with such a short window, they don’t have the chance to see the race course ahead of time. What better way to preview a course than at your own pace while you are on your treadmill?”

  Virtual Runner on the Treadmill

“While all versions of Virtual Runner work independent of the treadmill, we hope to work with treadmill manufacturers to integrate the Android app to communicate with their brand of treadmill using ANT+ and Bluetooth® wireless connectivity, whereby the treadmill controls the video speed of a Virtual Runner video and Virtual Runner would control the incline of the treadmill belt,” McNamee said. “This would eliminate the need for the accessories such as the footpod and wireless receiver. The treadmill running world is going virtual and we hope to help pave the way.”

A brief demonstration can be found here:  http://outsideinteractive.net/software.php Samples of various race courses, popular running routes and scenic destinations can be found at www.outsideinteractive.com .

About: Outside Interactive is a Hopkinton, MA developer of Virtual Runner, revolutionary patent-pending forward motion technology solutions featuring famous race courses, popular running routes and scenic destinations, all shot in HD from a runner’s point of view. Founded in 2011 by Gary McNamee, a lifelong Boston resident, avid runner and serial entrepreneur, Gary developed Virtual Runner after becoming bored on the treadmill and frustrated with not being able to train properly in New England’s unpredictable and often harsh weather. For more information, visit www.outsideinteractive.com or find Outside Interactive on Facebook and Twitter.