This $8,000 contraption turns planking into a VR game

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Imagine you just spent a long and stressful day at work. Fitness fanatics aside, exercising might not be high on your list of things to do when you get home. But what if it was made into a VR game? That is sort of the idea behind Icaros, a pricey piece of exercise equipment that has you toning your body while playing games in VR.

The gyroscopic design of the Icaros allows for three-dimensional movements. There are a variety of single and multiplayer gaming experiences that will have you skiing, swimming underwater, flying through space, and so forth. Each one is tailored towards fitness and fun. And if this catches on, Icaros has made available an SDK for third-party developers.

At present, there are Icaros apps for Samsung's Gear VR, though support for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift will be added sometime this summer.  As for the controller, that part is attached to the handlebar and measures all movements on the Icaros, which are then transmitted wirelessly.

According to Icaros, you can burn 30 percent more calories on its machine versus traditional planking. The company also claims twice the muscle stimulation. 

Of course, traditional planking has its advantages, too. For one, it's free. It also takes up far less room versus trying to find space for an ICaros device. And if you're concerned about matching your home decor, you may find yourself in agreement with The Verge (opens in new tab) that Icaros "looks very silly."

On the flip side, The Verge notes that Icaros is "fairly comfortable, intuitive, and fun," and that "there's a real feeling of skill involved."

Our take? Having not spent any hands-on time with Icaros, we can say it's at least interesting. It will be even more so once support for the Vive and Rift are added. At $8,000, however, it's also going to be cost prohibitive for a lot of people.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).