Honda introduced a brand new “Prolonged Actuality Mobility Expertise” debuting at this yr’s SXSW pageant in Austin, the place the corporate will invite attendees to strap on a VR headset and strap into a flowery wheelchair. The longer term is right here, possibly.

The stunt makes use of Honda’s new UNI-ONE, a private mobility machine with self-balancing know-how just like a Segway, which lets riders steer by leaning their our bodies in a given path.

The carmaker is selling the UNI-ONE as a mobility machine for individuals with disabilities, however it appears Honda thinks the wheelchair can be numerous enjoyable for everybody. The corporate shared pictures and video of a headset-wearing man driving within the chair with arms outstretched and a childlike smile.

“With the Honda XR Mobility Expertise, we’re increasing the enjoyment and freedom of private mobility into leisure functions,” mentioned Hirokazu Hara, a Vice President at Honda America in a press release. “By combining the distinctive, bodily expertise of driving the Honda UNI-ONE with extremely immersive digital leisure, Honda is making a model new multimodal expertise that takes prolonged actuality applied sciences to the subsequent degree.”

Introducing the Honda Prolonged Actuality Mobility Expertise

Honda mentioned it envisions individuals taking part within the XR Mobility Expertise each indoors and open air in “obstacle-free areas,” together with theme parks, leisure services, shops, and procuring malls. The promise is a “select your VR journey” the place you’ll have the ability to “expertise the peaceable feeling of floating within the sky or the exhilarating feeling of gliding alongside a half-pipe path,” the corporate wrote. “Honda additionally believes that UNI-ONE can be utilized as a mobility machine in XR video games, reminiscent of a racing sport the place gamers use their fingers whereas shifting freely or a sport during which gamers comply with sure routes.”

The corporate isn’t the primary to think about including extra bodily motion to VR gaming. For instance, researchers unveiled a Dance Dance Revolution style mat that lets gamers run round in digital house by lifting their legs up and down with a motion that, one has to confess, appears like a toddler who wants a toilet break. Different experiments embody treadmills that simulate walking in any path, making VR gaming all of the extra immersive. Final yr, this reporter strapped on a VR headset in the back of a BMW with an organization that promised the primary journey within the “metaverse for automobiles.”

Including a wheelchair to the combo is an surprising and astronomically costly addition to the combo. However you’ll be able to see the enchantment of driving round what’s primarily a bit automotive. At first look, nonetheless, Honda’s imaginative and prescient leaves a bit to be desired. The promotional video options glitchy low frame-rate graphics and video games that look about as boring as will be.

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.


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