Ghost Pacer: An AR headset that lets you fight your virtual running partner.

According tomedia New Atlas, some runners may tell you that it’s easier to keep up your speed or beat your personal best when running with your little partner than running alone. A new headset called Ghost Pacer ensures that people can do this, even if friends are busy, by letting them fight a virtual character that only they can see themselves.

Ghost Pacer: An AR headset that lets you fight your virtual running partner.

Ghost Pacer is an augmented reality (AR) headset, which means it overlays virtual images into the real world. The technology has allowed users to play location-based Pok?mon and Minecraft, find clues in the real crime mystery, or see what it looks like in your home before buying IKEA furniture.

Now, the technology is being used to improve exercise. Looking through the sun visor, the Ghost Pacer headset seems to project a virtual character onto the road in front of the user. This virtual training partner can be set up to run at a certain speed and even simultaneously represent past runs, whether it’s the user’s own or a friend’s.

Ghost Pacer: An AR headset that lets you fight your virtual running partner.

All this is controlled by the Ghost Pacer app, which allows users to set the route and speed of avatars and record their performance like other exercise trackers. It can also sync to Strava, a social media network for runners and cyclists, that converts other people’s running routes into avatar routes for avatars to follow.

Ghost Pacer users may be primarily concerned about whether it’s light and flexible enough to run, so Ghost Pacer looks like a slightly bulky pair of sunglasses that weigh just 90 grams. The display has a resolution of 1280 x 720 and a field of view of 30 degrees. The battery apparently lasts 6 hours and takes 1 hour to charge via USB-C.

Ghost Pacer: An AR headset that lets you fight your virtual running partner.

There is also a Pro version that can be connected to some smartwatch models to collect more detailed data. It can also be synchronized with the Vimazi RunCrush app to help virtual people change their pace at different stages of the route. Ghost Pacer is definitely an interesting application of AR technology, and it’s not clear how useful it will be at this early stage, before you try it yourself.

Ghost Pacer is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter and has raised more than $82,000, exceeding its fundraising target of $25,000. Regular early bird offers start at $199 and professional models start at $219. If all goes according to plan, the product should be available by July 2021.