US sports brand Nike unveiled an immersive installation in April that reframes treadmill running as a multisensory journey.
The installation, conceived in partnership with London-based creative studio Field for the 2015 Nike Innovation Summit, uses Microsoft Kinect 3D sensors to turn the runners' field of view into a swirling projection of themselves and their running rhythm.
The aesthetic resembles the high-tech visualisations that accompany the latest in live music and entertainment, and is meant to "amplify the feeling of getting into the flow of running", according to the designers.
The gym of the future is likely to incorporate such tech-augmented experiences, both to compete with the rise of millennial-friendly fitness events like The Colour Run and Tough Mudder, and to appeal to Gen Z – the next tech-savvy and wellness-focused generation.
More than three-quarters (77%) of US millennials say that some of their best memories are of live events or experiences (Eventbrite, 2014). Forward-thinking fitness and athleisure brands are tapping into this sentiment – see Millennial Fitness: Party People for more.
Designers and tech companies are also using responsive lighting and intuitive sensors to create immersive spaces that promote short bursts of relaxation for time-poor workers. For more on this trend, read Compressed Calm.