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Making It

The Slickest Part Of This Exercise Bike? The UI, Actually

In redesigning the stationary bike for a lifestyle, Lunar also offers a peak at how gestural interfaces might filter into our everyday tech.

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A home exercise machine is like Mr. Rochester’s first wife in Jane Eyre—something you acquired with good intentions and then secreted away and kept from public view. Lunar Europe, the Munich-based design studio, wants to bring it out of hiding and install it in the living room to mix with polite society. The first effort in a series of revamped gym equipment, its Vela stationary bike is a sculptural beauty consisting of a minimal frame with gears and pedals suspended inside.

"Home fitness equipment usually looks as if it belongs in a torture chamber," Lunar states in its press release. "Chunky and heavy, it often leads a shadowy existence in the guest room or basement. The designers at Lunar deliberately set out to change this state of affairs." They did so by reducing the exercise bike to a sinuous, geometrically balanced frame that’s worthy of display. The flywheel itself is suspended using a novel system of high-tension wires—the idea being that the flywheel can actually be moved up, down, forward, and back to accommodate different riders.

But the most interesting idea lies in the UI. Rather than being a simple touch screen near the bike’s handlebars, Lunar proposes a projected light display, shined down on the ground around the bike. The colors would change based on where you are in the workout, such as warm-up or anaerobic threshold. And you’d interact with the display simply using gestures—thus, no more fumbling with a button when you’re bone-tired. You can imagine a bright future for this kind of idea—and indeed, we’re betting that you’ll soon see shades of this in TV and car interfaces, among others.

Click here to read about Lunar Europe’s climbing-wall concept.