As the spring and summer months progress this year, more people are seeking ways to get in shape, namely as most global COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease and people return to their active routines.
Companies have begun exploring immersive solutions aimed at combining the latest in virtual reality (VR) hand and eye-tracking, fitness tracking, and social engagement.
Liteboxer, a firm specialising in fitness and training systems, recently debuted its at-home VR solution at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it showcased on Meta’s Quest 2 headset and released its solution to the public on 5 March this year.
Jeff Morin, Chief Executive of Liteboxer VR, shared his observations on Liteboxer VR as both an alternative to equipment-intensive solutions as well as its integrated tech solutions for the Meta Quest 2.
XR Today: What exactly is Liteboxer VR and how did your company develop hand and body tracking for the Meta Quest 2?
Jeff Morin: Liteboxer is a free VR workout app that infuses music, gamification, and trainers to make working out fun and effective in the Metaverse. Our nine world-class Trainers are here to guide and motivate you as you build technique, power, and confidence.
The app shows you when and where to punch and scores your timing, accuracy, and force, where all actions are choreographed to chart-topping hits.
There are more than 400 workouts, including 300 trainer classes and 100 Punch Tracks, or on-demand songs from Universal Music’s catalogue with pre-programmed patterns for you to punch to the beat.
Our hand-tracking technologies allow users to hold other objects like egg weights to intensify their workouts, which we think are a more natural way to work out and is less sweaty.
Customers can also incorporate other full-body movements in workout routines, and can directly manipulate objects in the app with their own fingers, using Meta’s latest Presence Platform hand-tracking tools.
Users can also work out with or without controllers through the Quests’ hand-tracking capabilities. On our side, Liteboxer provided feedback and insight to Meta’s hand-tracking developers as they pushed the boundaries of what is possible with [Meta] Quest 2 hardware.
Since launching in March, Liteboxer VR has experienced over 200,000 downloads and over 28 million punches have been thrown in two short months in the Metaverse.
XR Today: What does Liteboxer VR aim to accomplish, both regarding its technologies and user base?
Jeff Morin: Liteboxer hopes to establish itself as a thought leader in the virtual workout space through its democratized approach. To date, most connected fitness companies require expensive hardware coupled with monthly memberships.
By leveraging new capabilities in VR, combined with its expertise in physical training, Liteboxer looks to remove the need for multiple fitness subscriptions or expensive hardware to achieve a full-body workout.
For perspective, Peloton has about 2.5 million paying subscribers, and the popular VR game Beatsaber announced $180M in sales from its one-time $29 app, indicating a huge opportunity to build the next ‘Peloton’ in VR TODAY, especially as the VR user base rapidly expands and goes mainstream.
Hardware-based fitness companies are all competing in a saturated market, where there are only so many customers that have the space and funds for a $2,000 device. Liteboxer looks to tap into the bottom half of the income pyramid.
XR Today: Do you believe that advancements in hand, eye, and body tracking will eventually eliminate the need for controllers? What is required to reach this milestone?
Jeff Morin: We definitely believe that controller-less activities are the future for VR and that future hardware will make this a reality, along with augmented haptic feedback systems that can raise touch and feel to the next level.
To achieve such goals, we expect the hardware will need better processing and tracking techniques that are ambient light-independent.
XR Today: What have clients and customers said about Liteboxer’s engagement, usability, and features, compared to joining a gym or Zoom class?
Jeff Morin: Users love our punch tracks and trainer classes, and are also really impressed with the pace that we’ve been able to update the app as we add more features and polish.
We are one of the few fitness apps where you can see real trainers in the room with you for the entire workout. Liteboxer uses a green-screen filming process that makes it feel like the trainer is in the room with you, making it feel much more like a 1-to-1, in-person sparring session instead of a 2D zoom class.
It’s important to note that Liteboxer is NOT a videogame company trying to do fitness, and our in-app trainers are experts in body science and that is part of our workout DNA.
XR Today: What other updates can you provide about your company and its progress?
Jeff Morin: The freemium subscription model was created so that people can experience what Liteboxer is all about, without the need of signing up with a credit card.
It currently has over 50 workouts that use production music instead of pop music, which does not rotate, but as we add new features to the premium app, we include them in the freemium access so users can experience the updates.
Premium accounts offer daily new music and workouts with music from Universal Music Group’s catalog, which includes artists like The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Sam Smith and more.
For more information, visit Liteboxer VR’s website or download the app at the Meta Quest store.