Get Swole With These VR Muscle Stimulators
Valkyrie EIR armbands maximize your Meta Quest workout using electrical stimulation.
As much as I love to work out in VR, one thing missing when compared to a traditional workout is the lack of resistance. Whether it be lifting a virtual weight or punching a virtual punch bag, the absence of any resistive feedback takes away from the immersion and reduces the fitness benefits of the exercise when compared to the real thing.
The Valkyrie EIR armbands try to solve this problem by using a tried and tested technology called Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) to maximize your VR fitness sessions. It works through controlled electrical impulses delivered by metal contacts on the armbands which promote muscle contraction when exercising.
The device uses a pair of adhesive gel pads for each arm, with one pad located on the bicep and the other on the tricep. The armband then wraps over the top of the gel pads to deliver electrical stimulation to the upper arms. Each adhesive gel pad can be re-used approximately 20-30 times (or more) for a single user and the armbands take about one hour to charge which gets you around an hour and a half of non-stop play.
The Valkyrie EIT armbands work in conjunction with their EIR training app, a fitness experience featuring exercise classes designed by professional trainers that include dumbbells, boxing, and cable machine exercises. The armbands provide electrical muscle stimulation feedback in real-time (10 ms delay) along with the gameplay. For example, as you pull on the virtual cable machine, an electrical impulse will be delivered to your biceps and triceps simultaneously to tense that muscle group with a strength equivalent to up to 4KG.
The intensity, frequency, and length of the electrical stimulation delivered are optimized for muscle training within the EIR training app. The intensity of the stimulation is determined by a quick calibration at the start of the training session, in addition to the properties of the virtual objects themselves. For example, lifting a heavier virtual dumbbell will result in greater EMS intensity compared to lifting a lighter one.
Currently, the armbands are only compatible with the EIR Training app, but Valkyrie is in discussions with other VR fitness companies to bring their device to more users. They also plan to release the Software Development Kit (SDK) for developers to bring Valkyrie EIR to more VR (or non-VR) experiences.
Ivan Isakov, Co-Founder, and CTO of Valkyrie Industries commented on the decision to produce the armbands, saying “The powerful feeling of resistance is integral to the best workout routines. We wanted to push the boundaries of immersion for the millions of fitness fans that work out in VR every day. Valkyrie EIR is the next step in that journey, as we build on our expertise with haptic technologies.”
The Valkyrie EIR armbands work with both the Meta Quest and Meta Quest 2 and are available to preorder from today for $150 / £150 / €150, with a 25% discount available for a limited time. The armbands will begin shipping in the summer of 2023 but the EIR Training app is available from today via the App Lab.
Image Credit: Valkyrie Industries