‘I’m cycling across the country from my living room’

Most evenings after work, I’ve been cycling the 1,500km-route from Land’s End to John O’Groats from the comfort of my living room. I’ve managed it by hooking up an exercise bike and a virtual reality headset to Google Street View and writing some software to sync and measure everything.

Navigating a highly constrained 3D world is not always perfect, not least because Street View compresses depth information. That means that certain things, such as buildings, appear quite solid but other elements — trees, hedges, and anything lumpy — often look a mess. But, of course, I don’t have to battle wind and rain or punishing hills.

Overall, I would say the experience feels 50 per cent real. Despite all those minor glitches, it feels like I’m actually there, riding along.

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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‘I’m cycling across the country from my living room’

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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