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The virtual walker

As some of you might know, Minnesota can get cold in the wintertime (and fall and spring). Damn cold. Really, really damn cold. 

And as some faithful readers might know, I am a habitual walker for both my physical and mental health

When the temp stays below zero, I grit my teeth and walk the indoor track at the YMCA. So instead of a healthy map like this showing the route of my walk:

it looks like this:

which is also a good visual of my mind during the walk. While I enjoy the physical act of walking, listening to a little rock and roll via Spotify, and watching my fellow exercisers, I really much prefer being outdoors.

Maybe I'm ready for some virtual reality. Let's slip in some contact lenses, a small ear bud with microphone, and maybe sensor embedded clothes to change the way the track (or more likely treadmill) looks and feels. Ready?

Winston*: Doug, where are we walking today?

Doug: I am thinking a nice stroll along the Seine. Past Notre Dame?

Winston: I checked your blood sugar levels this morning. A bit more strenuous exercise is in order.

Doug: OK. Can you give me a preview of the hike I will be doing in Philmont with my grandson this summer?

Winston: Of course. Do you have a particular area of the ranch you would like to explore?

Doug: Let's do the supposedly haunted Urraca Mesa. Might be safer virtually.

Winston: I will program a level 7 hike for 50 minutes. Would you like ambient sounds?

Doug: Of course.

Winston: Would you like companions to visit with on the hike? As I remember, you gave explorer Sir Richard Burton high marks earlier this week.

Doug: No, I think I will just enjoy the solitude. Let's go!

I see that there is a form of VR already for cyclists. And perhaps there is for walkers as well and I just don't know about it.

Virtual and augmented reality hold great promise for education. I would remember a good deal more about Ancient Egypt has I actually watched the Great Pyramid being built and visited with the Pharaoh. I might have paid more attention in physics class if I was of a molecular size seeing chemicals bond. And might I have a clearer understanding of civics if I could participate in a state legislative session?

The weather is supposed to be nicer toward the end of this week. I will move back outside with my walking. I will use the time contemplating how to improve my virtual walking experience for the next cold snap/

* Winston is Dan Brown's AI character's name in Origin.



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Reader Comments (2)

Some of us who at 74 find our 2 mile walks 6 times a week (for the last 10+ years) a great way to organize our thoughts and solve problems. The pace is not only helpful in promoting problem solving, but in watching out for rattle snakes. Almost walked into one last week. California has its environmental problems.

Jim Kelly (One of 25 projects nominated for the United Nations’ 2016 WSIS award in e-learning;
and a top 5 star Merlot open access educational resource). (a 4 star Merlot OER educational resource)

January 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJim Kelly

Hi Jim,

Rattlesnakes are not a problem in Minnesota. Snow covered ice is the biggest threat here, along with frostbite. I find at age 65 I am as good a walker as I have ever been. Hope to keep it up for many years. I appreciate the encouraging tone of your message.


January 19, 2018 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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