Jan 15, 2019 | By Sarah Housley
As a WGSN City by City Associate Editor, I walk around a lot.
For walkable cities like Hong Kong, it’s a great way to experience an unfamiliar place or, as my job requires, to discover new things in a familiar one. What’s more, it’s far more enjoyable alternative to exercising on a treadmill to hit a daily exercise quota.
Generally, people are more willing to do something if it’s fun – it’s not exactly rocket science.
The great Pokémon Go craze of 2016 had the serendipitous effect of tricking people into doing cardio whilst out catching virtual characters on their smartphone. The fitness industry is quickly catching on, adapting to the needs of consumers by introducing elements of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) into fitness programs and activities, transforming the way people work out and stay healthy. Fast forward to 2018, and to the birth of an intriguing concept that combines AR technology with Running Man – District Race.
District Race is a two-hour urban exploration race around Hong Kong, with no set route or distance. Participants have to make use of an app to navigate through virtual checkpoints and complete challenges for points.
There are more than 80 checkpoints and challenges spread across eight districts, designed to allow participants to experience the most of each area. Perhaps it’s a checkpoint that leads you to the edge of the harbour for the iconic view, or a challenge that quizzes you on the details of a particular street, or even having to climb a historic flight of stone stairs within a set amount of time.
You can choose to go it alone or in a big group but, either way, participation seems to promise a good time. Peak physical fitness isn’t a requirement, but the competitive element of District Race is certainly set to push participants to make the most of their fitness potential.
Co-founder Sam Hussey, and Chief Marketing Officer of District Technologies, the company behind it all, explains: “Augmented Reality is a unique way to use physical landmarks of amazing cities and bring them to life through gamification. If we can help tell the stories of the city by turning them into Augmented Reality markers, it allows the District experience to be exciting and challenging, while educating participants about their surroundings”.
Now all you have to worry about is your phone’s battery life.
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