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Race a ghost of yourself with upcoming product from Portland startup

Race a ghost of yourself with upcoming product from Portland startup »Play Video
Want to race yourself? This is what you'll see in the glasses. (Image courtesy OnTheGo Platforms)

Having trouble finding a running partner?  Look to race yourself, instead. 

A tool coming out by Christmas this year will help you do just that, according to Portland startup OnTheGo Platforms. The founders are building software and applications for the Vuzix Smart Glasses.

“It records your route, time and distance, then you race that recorded route,” explained founder Ryan Fink.  “When you start to fall behind, you'll see a 3D avatar start to run out and run exactly where you ran from the time before.”

As a runner himself, Fink came up with the idea about three years ago and says he put his savings into a patent. “I wanted something to push me to be one step better than the day before.”

His co-founder Tyler Phillipi said a number on his watch doesn’t motivate him, so he appreciates the challenge of racing yourself. 

“You hear footsteps, or that person starts pulling ahead, that really gives you that instinct to catch up and hurry up and get things done,” Phillipi said.

OTG Platforms has already demoed the prototype on the Nike campus and recently applied to the new Nike+ Accelerator program that is set to start next month.  The ten startup companies chosen for the accelerator will work out of Northwest Portland to further develop their concepts and products with the help of mentors, funding and the opportunity to launch a product with the Nike brand.

The OTG founders say the Smart Glasses with the GhostRunner software will be coming out this year either way at a cost somewhere between $200 and $500.

“The first version of it is always much more expensive than it can be the next year or the next version,” said Phillipi.

There are already smart phone apps that allow you to compare your current running stats to previous routes and speeds.  Those apps are cheaper and readily available on your smart phone, but they won't literally show you yourself, providing the real feel of racing.

Fink can’t wait to see his concept on store shelves.

“I want to motivate other people to get out there, put these on, and even if you’re not a runner, this kind of ‘gameifies’ running and makes it fun.”