Video game naysayers can say what they want, but products like Nintendo’s Wii and the Xbox Kinect have gotten people off of their ass in a way that video games have never done before, adding exercise to having fun. I mean, you burn some calories dancing around in celebration after you stomp someone’s ass at Tekken Tag, and there’s Dance Dance Revolution, but you know what I mean.
Korean designer Il-Seop Yoon is doing the same thing from the opposite angle, adding fun to exercise. The Voyager Smartmill is a concept Yoon designed for a smart treadmill (duh), which would give runners a chance to engage in other activities while burning calories. As you can see from the below picture, it’s like being the most tech-savvy hamster in the world. Someone should develop a drink dispenser that looks like one of those water-dropper things.
Looks pretty great, right? Honestly, the treadmill part could go to shit and I would just put a mattress in it and rent it out as a fourth bedroom. That near-bodylength screen is amazing, and in case you can’t tell, the arms have buttons on them. And some of those buttons have nothing to do with the speed of the treadmill track. Use of the word “smart” automatically lets you know this thing gets online, which is great, but everything does that nowadays. It also does all the data tracking that modern equipment uses.
The Voyager’s really cool features include the Travel, Sports, and Game settings, and the ability to make your own avatar within the system, thanks to an onboard camera, which also lets you connect with friends. Travel Mode takes you to different locations, though it isn’t clear if these would just be animations or if something like Google Street View would get involved, like their Leap Motion deal. Virtually running around some of the world’s biggest cities sounds great to me.
Sports Mode would put you into some sort of a competition, which would obviously involve running, assuming there are no hidden trampoline add-ons. Game Mode would give certain challenges for entertainment purposes. Or something. I don’t have the many thousands of dollars it would take to buy this thing whenever it comes into existence, but I’d certainly love to win one. And I hope the challenge isn’t to race a robot cheetah in it, or it might explode.