V is for VST

Tiller rope. Oarlock. Skeg. Gunwale. These are all parts of rowing boats that you will not see when you walk into your local gym and inspect their fleet of indoor rowers. What’s interesting when you look at these machines is if they didn’t bear the name that connects it with the thing people do in boats, it might be a real leap to figure out how they were even associated. Yet the rowing machine has become so established in its own right that there are even competitions held. Love the idea of sliding back and forth while pulling a handle on a chain, but hate the water? Maybe this is for you.

The indoor rower is good example of a design that has shed most of the vestiges that connect it to its waterborne counterpart. For avid rowing enthusiasts, a person could easily imagine a rowing machine complete with a useless hull and even a water sprayer to make the ‘rower’ feel a bit closer to the lake. Absurd as they may be, these elements sometimes go a long way in making users feel more acquainted with a new machine. They’re called skeuomorphs, and are elements that have no functional purpose, but resemble familiar elements that may have been necessary in designs once upon a time.

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