Honda’s ‘extended reality’ is a mash-up of VR and motorized wheelchairs

Honda introduced a new “prolonged actuality” expertise that mixes digital actuality with private mobility units just like the automaker’s self-balancing Uni-One wheelchairs. Honda stated it’ll exhibit its know-how at SXSW in Austin, Texas, subsequent month.

The intention is to “elevate” the VR expertise, which is largely stationary and confined to a single area, by combining it with Honda’s Segway-like Uni-One mobility machine that responds to a consumer’s actions. In this manner, Honda can simulate racing by an immersive alien panorama. The machine is hands-free, permitting customers the liberty to make use of their higher our bodies to reinforce the VR expertise.

The Uni-One could be raised to a “excessive place” seat top of 27.6 inches, the place the consumer is near eye stage with standing people. While seated, they’ll transfer ahead, backward, diagonally, or sideways simply by leaning their physique within the route they need to go and shifting their weight. In “low place,” the consumer is extra on the stage of people who find themselves seated or babies and can transfer in any route by steering with a joystick.

Just to be clear: the expertise is meant to be for leisure and not essentially for people who find themselves disabled or have mobility challenges. In its launch, Honda makes no point out of folks with disabilities.

Honda says the prolonged actuality (XR) know-how could possibly be splendid for malls, theme parks, or different indoor or outside leisure services — so long as they’ve heaps of obstacle-free area.

The Uni-One, which is able to make its debut at this yr’s SXSW, is primarily based on Honda’s Uni-Cub machine, which was first launched in 2012. The unicycle-like car was designed to be straddled, whereas being tall sufficient to permit folks to remain at eye stage with standing companions.

By comparability, the Uni-One weighs 154 kilos and can journey at a blazing prime velocity of 3.7mph. The chair’s replaceable lithium-ion battery can stand up to 5 miles of vary when touring at a velocity of as much as 2.5mph. And it has a max weight capability of 242 kilos.

Whether one thing as idiosyncratic as Honda’s XR expertise ever catches on is anybody’s guess. Shopping malls actually have their justifiable share of low-quality VR cubicles, however the overwhelming majority are stationary or require the consumer to take a seat in a confined area. Honda is asking them to be open to creating an indoor curler rink of types to permit their Uni-One chairs free rein.

Would it flip into a low-speed demolition derby, with a bunch of goggle-wearing racers crashing into one another at 2mph? Or would it not be extra like a Ready Player One state of affairs, the place everybody will get their very own private treadmills? Either manner, the longer term is wanting fairly foolish.

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