Google Earth treadmill: A new way to explore the world

[From Search Engine Journal; a 0:50 minute video recorded at CES is here]

The Google Earth Treadmill: A New Way to Explore the World

Bob Young
January 14, 2011

If you stepped out onto my balcony right now, you’d see your breath fogging up instantly. Your fingers and toes would probably go numb within a few seconds. If you spat, it might turn to an icicle before it hit the ground. It’s for this reason that I usually find myself less fit during the winter; I hate going outside when it’s this frigid, and my main method of exercise is taking walks or jogs in the beautiful outdoors. Well, for those of you like me who have a passion for exploration but want to remain comfortable and warm, Google is pairing with Panasonic and Nordic Track to bring a solution.

According to a report on Mashable, Nordic Track and Panasonic had a display at CES which showed a new version of their “adventurous” treadmill concept.  A previous version of this treadmill allowed users to connect to Google Earth and walk the elevations of any locale they wanted to travel, be it the streets of Paris or the steep slops of the Alps. While interesting for those with sufficient imagination, it’s nothing compared to the new set of features.

This new rendition, called the “Viera Connect,” not only lets users get the sense of what this terrain may feel like to walk on, it also lets users see the region. It does this using the satellite imagery from Google Earth, which is displayed on a Panasonic screen in front of the user. The Google Maps and Earth data are combined to show running snapshots while you walk. While it’s unfortunate that you don’t get a smooth, running picture of the region as you move forward, it does represent the first step in what could be some very exciting virtual reality exercise equipment. And plus, now you can explore Alaska while staying a cozy 72 degrees.

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