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Honda’s ‘prolonged actuality’ is a mash-up of VR and motorized wheelchairs

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

The purpose is to “elevate” the VR expertise, which is basically stationary and confined to a single house, by combining it with Honda’s Segway-like Uni-One mobility machine that responds to a person’s actions. On this means, Honda can simulate racing via an immersive alien panorama. The machine is hands-free, permitting customers the liberty to make use of their higher our bodies to boost the VR expertise.

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

Simply to be clear: the expertise is supposed to be for leisure and never essentially for people who find themselves disabled or have mobility challenges. In its launch, Honda makes no point out of individuals with disabilities.

Honda says the prolonged actuality (XR) know-how might be best for malls, theme parks, or different indoor or outside leisure amenities — so long as they’ve a lot of obstacle-free house.

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The Uni-One, which is able to make its debut at this yr’s SXSW, is predicated on Honda’s Uni-Cub device, which was first launched in 2012. The unicycle-like automobile 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 might journey at a blazing prime pace of three.7mph. The chair’s replaceable lithium-ion battery can stand up to 5 miles of vary when touring at a pace of as much as 2.5mph. And it has a max weight capability of 242 kilos.

Whether or not one thing as idiosyncratic as Honda’s XR expertise ever catches on is anybody’s guess. Purchasing malls actually have their justifiable share of low-quality VR cubicles, however the overwhelming majority are stationary or require the person to sit down in a confined house. 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 not flip right into a low-speed demolition derby, with a bunch of goggle-wearing racers crashing into one another at 2mph? Or wouldn’t it be extra like a Prepared Participant One state of affairs, the place everybody will get their very own private treadmills? Both means, the longer term is wanting fairly foolish.

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