BOISE - A local startup company whose co-founder knows a thing or two about startups is in the final stages of rolling out a virtual reality platform that just might revolutionize the fitness industry.
Boise native Ryan DeLuca sold and then retired from the uber-successful Bodybuilding.com, which he started in 1999.
That retirement lasted six months - before he and fellow workout junkie and tech designer Preston Lewis started up a new tech company they named Black Box.
"We think we have a big opportunity to do something that could really help people get in shape and stick to their programs." DeLuca said.
The idea is simple; It basically creates a full-body fitness program you use with a virtual reality headset. A game that will allow you to play with others online or alone in the confines of your home or office.
"There are a lot of games that are fun...a lot of games you level up your character while you're getting more out of shape sitting there," DeLuca said. "We want to make it for the first time ever that you level up yourself."
Given the current VR “wave” that, by all accounts, is just now starting to build, this is a group focused on rolling this program out as quickly as possible - but not before it's ready.
They are not only designing the system but will also serve as its beta testers before delivering it to market.
"In fact we, the Black Box team in Boise, decided we are quitting the gym, which is exactly 58 days from now," DeLuca said. "We have a countdown here, so we are only going to work out inside virtual reality - which means we have to have a game experience that’s great and gives us the results, which is the most important thing."
The testing lab is located inside their office on the third floor of the 8th Street Marketplace at BODO.
Lewis showed us an early version of one of the exercises - primitive compared to where they see the finished product ending up.
Despite easily maneuvering through the drills, his team applauded a perfect score.
"You were perfect Preston! Great job," howled a support team that obviously knows positive reinforcement is a team-building function. Something the Black Box team thrives on.
They aren’t looking to put health facilities out of business. But they do believe health clubs will need to get on board with something that they are banking on becoming the next "new" worldwide fitness craze.
Born right here in Idaho.
"We're all kind of in that beginning phase and it’s all about to get a lot better - and it’s that opportunity to create something brand new and we're doing it right here in Boise." said a beaming DeLuca.
Black Box and its team will be a big part of the 2016 Idaho Virtual Reality Council VR Bash on Oct. 19 at the Knitting Factory at BODO in downtown Boise. It's a free event presented by the Idaho Virtual Reality Council.
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