WorstPlans.com updates every Monday!

Your weekly source for terrible plans and ideas!

Tag: projector

Feel the illusion of progress while accomplishing nothing! A “panorama treadmill” trick with metaphorical applications to other aspects of life too!

The issue:

Running on a treadmill can be quite unrewarding due to the repetitiveness and relatively long duration of most treadmill-based exercises.


Fig 1: This treadmill needs to be jazzed up somehow.

There are certain “gimmick”-based treadmills that connect to a monitor to give you the illusion of actually making progress toward a destination as you walk.

However, none of these is particularly immersive; it is still quite obvious that you are walking on a treadmill and staring at a screen.


Fig 2: As the user runs, the video on the treadmill updates to give the illusion that the user is actually running outdoors. But it’s still obviously just a screen, so the experience is sub-optimal.


We can solve this in a simple way:

Instead of using a standard monitor for the video output, we can either use a curved screen (if a sufficiently cheap one can be found) or a curved projector screen and a few cheap projectors.

Now the screen actually covers your peripheral vision, so you really get the illusion of movement!


Fig 3: A curved screen gives an immersive treadmill-running experience. Just like being outdoors! We can even save money by only projecting in high-resolution to the middle of the screen—since the sides will only be seen in the runner’s peripheral vision, those areas can be extremely low resolution.

VR glasses were also considered. While they would be more immersive and take up less space, VR setups are currently hampered by:

  1. Their tendency to fog up during exercise and
  2. The lack of options for dealing with a user’s disgustingly sweaty face.

PROS: Provides extra motivation to walk on a treadmill (or use an elliptical machine / rowing machine / stationary bicycle / etc.).

CONS: Takes up a lot of space. If you buy one of these for your own house, it will be even more of a shameful reminder of your lack of dedication when you stop using it after four weeks.



Five ways to improve your climbing wall (actually just two ways)


The goal of most climbing walls it to simply get to the top. However, there is no reason not to make the goal something more elaborate.

The inspiration:

There is a video game called “Shadow of the Colossus” in which your goal is to guide a man with a sword as he clambers on top of building-sized beasts, with the eventual goal of stabbing the beast in a specific weak point. Secondary goal: do not fall off the beast and be trampled underneath.


The symbol that you have to stab in the game is always some kind of weird looking glowing rune.


The idea:

Take a normal climbing wall and use a standard LED projector to project a bullseye somewhere onto the wall. The climber’s goal is to clamber over to that target and hit it with their hand. (Or a sword, if the climbing wall is in a country without the legal concept of “liability.”)


Fig 1. A normal climbing wall. The red dots are handholds/footholds.



Fig 2. A projector projects target images onto various locations on the wall.


Alternative scenarios also present themselves, where the bullseye could move around, or multiple ones would have to be hit in sequence.

If extra faithfulness to the source game is desired, the climbing wall could also be mounted on a hydraulic platform that could shake the wall in an attempt to throw off the climber.

A slight modification of this idea would also allow the re-enactment of the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker ascends a wire (or rope, in a climbing gym) and throws a grenade inside one of the Imperial Walkers on Hoth. Presumably there are many other movies with suitable scenes. (The climbing of the cliffs in The Princess Bride also comes to mind.)

PROS: Would be amazing. Total cost for non-hydraulic version: only the cost of the projector!

CONS: Might be too amazing.