Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

For Explorence, All the World’s a Fitness Game (Video)

A new start-up called Explorence aims to help more people get off the couch and play for a workout. It’s on the same wavelength as Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect, but ditching the specialized gaming systems for smartphones and the world outside.

The latest Explorence app is TorchDash for iOS, which just came out and has friends record themselves running short stints anywhere in the world, and then challenge their Facebook friends to beat the same distance on their own turf.

It’s a lot like SongPop and Draw Something — where friends play against each other, but not necessarily at the same time — but out in the world.

A somewhat similar app that’s not made by Explorence is “Zombies, Run!” for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, where users open up the app before they go on a run, put in their headphones, and then go on virtual missions to get away from approaching zombies by using their actual feet as monitored by GPS.

There are many apps and gadgets at the intersection of technology and fitness, but instead of improving sensors or syncing or coaching or devices, these apps are more about fun.

CEO Mike Suprovici says he wants Explorence to be a platform for other developers to build similar time-shifted competition apps on top of his API. TorchDash follows BullDash, a previous Explorence app that doesn’t have the social aspect but allows users to compete as if they’re at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, with sound effects of bulls coming up behind them.

Coming Explorence apps will include things like virtual goods. At this point the apps are more like demos than polished releases, but they give an idea of how this might work.

Suprovici is working with a team of four that came together out of the Founder Institute in San Diego, and is currently raising funding.

I went for a “run” with him in Mountain View and recorded a video explaining how this all works and where Explorence is going.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald