Aerobics
Virtual Knockout gamifies boxing mitt training fitness with tablet

The Premise. Video games have traditionally been controlled through small hand and finger movements, but lately, video game developers have created systems (such as the Wii, the Xbox Kinect, and Rockband) that allow players to use their whole body to immerse themselves in the game. Wii Sports doesn’t exactly offer the most technical training with its boxing game, and thus a quality interactive boxing videogame has yet to be developed—until now.

The Product. Virtual Knockout is the result of a combination between rhythmic gaming and focused mitt training. It’s a game that can be played on an iOS or Android device where a virtual trainer throws a variety of punches that require quick reflexes and timing to succeed. But if the user wants to turn the game into a workout, he or she can mount their device on to a unit that comes complete with spring loaded targets equipped with accelerometers. The result is an intensely fun workout that cuts out the need for a trip to the gym or payment for a trainer.

The Pitch. It’s much easier to see how the Virtual Knockout could be useful when it’s in action. The studio device that they use for the video seems sturdy enough, but it remains to be seen how a wall mount can withstand a bevy of punches. The app, however, looks like a game made for the 1990s. The gameplay seems too repetitive to retain any interest from a casual player, and the graphics are mediocre at best.

The Perks. The app isn’t quite ready yet, but it’s expected to be available in June for $5. But if you’re looking for the full-body experience, the price will be a lot higher. The Early Bird Wall Banger that mounts to a wooden or masonry wall costs $299 (app included), and it is expected to be delivered in October 2014. The Floor Model has an even steeper price of $649 for the Early Bird deal, but it does come with a floor stand. The two models are expected to be delivered in December if you aren’t able to claim the Early Bird deal.

The Potential. A manufacturer still hasn’t been chosen, so that’s not a good sign, but the preliminary designs themselves don’t look too sturdy either. Even the limited market of customers who are interested in boxing are unlikely to use Virtual Knockout as a substitute for traditional training techniques, but it does appear as if Virtual Knockout can deliver an invigorating, fun aerobic workout.

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