Workout of the Future Earns International Design Award

by Steve Ward

November 30, 2012 // Category: Innovation

In November, Life Fitness proudly accepted the 2012 Spark International Design Award in the Concept category for our Immersive Exercise Pod (IEP). The bronze medal joins 11 awards we’ve previously won in the field of design. Spark is a global community that strives to promote better living through innovative design, and their recognition is a credit to the Life Fitness Industrial Design team’s creativity and talent. Creating emotionally charged and visually compelling fitness equipment is why we get up in the morning and obtaining this award from the global design community is like adding “nitrous” to our creative gas tank.

    

Our focus with the IEP was to create a visually appealing and distinctively different offering in the gym, while applying the functionality of a fun and engaging experience to distract from the “work” aspect of a workout. With their large, domed roofs and expansive, curved LED screens, the futuristic pods may resemble something out of a James Cameron sci-fi movie, but the functionality we conjured up fuses sensory elements with the exertion of challenging workout: the exerciser is transported to, say, Yosemite National Park. The wooded landscape surrounds him completely. As he pedals furiously through the rugged terrain, the pod rumbles and shakes in perfect unison with the rocky trail. The sounds and scents of the area – the chirping of native birds, the rushing of a nearby waterfall, and the smell of sun-baked earth – further enhance the virtual journey. For now, the Immersive Exercise Pod is just a concept – an idea of what the future of cardio equipment could be – but hybrid cars and touch screen tablets began as concepts, too.

The IEP concept emerged when we combined existing Life Fitness products (a Lifecycle recumbent bike, Lifescape virtual environments, motion control software, HD displays, and gaming applications) with sensory technologies we have yet to tap in to like sound and aroma systems.

The result: a fully immersive workout and gaming experience capable of tapping into the elusive 18-28 year old “gaming generation”, an escape from the traditional cardio workout, and a striking piece of equipment to give facilities additional revenue streams through on-premise purchases and fee-based classes.

Like architects, industrial designers begin the creative process by identifying user wants and needs. We add to that the physical needs like human factors, mechanical, bio-mechanical and manufacturing requirements. We then use various development tools like sketching, computer rendering and full-scale models to create an emotional vision of the future. The IEP concept was born of technology research, trend watching and customer feedback. Armed with informative data we moved from abstract concepts to a visually striking, futuristic product that solves problems our customers are facing.

What do you think? Could you see a product like the IEP as a viable business option in your facility?  As an exerciser, is this immersive, virtual workout experience something you’re looking for?

We’re always looking for more feedback and, of course, inspiration.

Congratulations again to the entire Life Fitness Industrial Design crew! 

 
Steve Ward
 

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