Icaros is a gadget that represents the next generation in exercise equipment, but it is not just exercise equipment. It is the merger of virtual reality and a machine that gives you a full body workout. The best part is that you will not even mind the exercise because you are having so much fun. Icaros is a little like skydiving and a little like flying. Even though the machine has been out for a while, our staff only recently had the chance to take a demo flight. This was our experience.
Icaros is part of only a handful of machines that uses VR to make you feel like you are flying. Hypersuit looks a lot like it, but Is has a fan to simulate the air rushing past. Oculus uses a fan and a strap on pair of wings that you have to flap to keep up. With Icaros you control your flight with body weight shifting and body movement, think Superman flying.
The machine uses a frame with pegs for your feel and hands. Knee pads and elbow pads are a nice addition too. The entire frame is adjustable so that you can make sure to get a perfect fit. This is important, because improper body alignment could lead to injury. It is important to adjust it so that everything is perfectly aligned and nothing is strained. Once you have the perfect fit, the machine is very comfortable.
When the machine is adjusted for you, you lay down face first, place you hands and feet in the pegs, and put on the mobile or tethered headset. To tell you the truth, when I first got strapped in and all set, it felt a little intimidating. The contact points with your body are designed to make you feel that you are unsupported, just as if you are really flying, but then again, this is the point of the whole idea, right?
You tilt the machine forward using your body weight and you soon find yourself flying over mountains. However, you do not just free fly and wander. There is a course made of blue light rings that you must navigate. You work your way through the course, which causes to you have to bank, turn, climb, and go through a range of motions. This is the workout part.
So What About the Workout Part?
When you watch someone else using the machine, it looks deceptively easy. The movements they make seem to be small. It looks like they are hardly doing any work, at least work that looks like a workout. It does not have the strain and exertion factor of a traditional machine, but appearances can be deceptive.
The first thing that you notice is that you immediately have to engage your core to keep yourself upright. The machine is designed so that you efficiently work key muscle groups simple by being strapped into the machine. It does not take large movements to get a full body workout. The movements are subtle on the outside, but they use your or body weight and physics against you. It is harder than it looks.
I am a person who has spent their share of time in the gym and with in a few minutes, I knew why people love this machine so much. It targets the triceps, pectorals, deltoids, obliques, hamstrings, and glutes all at the same time. As you maneuver, you can feel the biceps, forearms, calves, and back muscles engage. There is little left that is not worked during the flight. In only a few minutes, I felt like I had been going hard at the gym for an hour. It was really surprising. It is like doing a plank, only the position is not as hard on your lower back. In other words, as a fitness machine, it was amazing.
The best part about it is that the software is motivating and distracting at the same time. You have to engage to play the game, but your mind is immersed in the VR world and keeping yourself on the light track. This game was both physically and mentally challenging. All of our staff who tried it had a similar response, except for the one who is admittedly afraid of heights. Who knows, maybe the Icaros could help them get over it.
As expected, I really felt the very short session that I took on this machine the next morning. There is some serious exercise science behindit. It is hard to believe that you can get such an efficient whole body workout in such a short amount of time and not even realize it.
The Icaros does not have the fan that its competitors have to simulate air movement. In my opinion, this is not missed and could be a distraction. It may help to simulate the tactile sensations of flight, but the fan noise would ruin the experience. Besides, this could cool you down too much when you are working up a sweat. In my opinion, I think the Icaros is better without the fan. If you want to, you could always add your own fan on a table.
What We Thought
This machine really does feel like you are flying. It has a smooth operation and is a blast once you get the hang of it. Seriously, this machine would motivate anyone to want to work out every day. It is more like a virtual reality game than an exercise machine. It takes real concentration to navigate the course and you forget that you are doing a workout. This is truly an amazing invention and if you want to take your workout to the next level, this is exactly what you need. I was a little skeptical at first, but after my first flight, there were absolutely no doubts left. This one is worth the price, especially if you are someone who is looking for something to save your workout.