Honda UNI-ONE wheelchair finds innovative use in VR worlds as extended reality mobility experience

Honda introduced the UNI-ONE personal mobility chair for people with lower limb immobilization at the end of 2022. The Segway-like version for people who want an advanced electric wheelchair contraption with flexible movement capabilities will officially debut at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, next month, with a VR application twist.

The Japanese automaker will leverage the self-balancing personal mobility device (mostly intended for the disabled) for a seamless virtual reality world, which they are calling the “Honda Extended Reality (XR)” experience. The idea of fusing the real-world riding on the UNI-ONE with the virtual world environment sounds like a winning proposition, and Honda doesn’t want to let go of the opportunity.

Designer: Honda

The SXSW attendees will get the opportunity to get first-hand exposure to this unique VR experience from 10-13 March at Honda’s booth #729 at the SXSW Creative Industries Expo at the Austin Convention Center. This amalgam of two different technologies is directed towards solving the hardware limitation of a comprehensive metaverse reality that is otherwise only limited to the visual input and confined to a limited space. According to Hirokazu Hara, vice president of New Business Development, at American Honda Motor this will expand the “joy and freedom of personal mobility into entertainment applications.”

Hirokazu further added that the never-before thought of combination will elevate the multimodal immersive experience three-fold. The self-balancing tech dubbed Honda Omni Traction Drive System (HOT Drive System) and the advanced sensors on the 154 pounds UNI-ONE (permitting movement and tilt in any direction) will leverage a new VR and AR entertainment. This will shoot the extended reality technology and application development possibilities to another level, inducing the interest of early adopters more than ever before.

For instance, racing through a track on a virtual planet with lesser gravity than on Earth will be possible on a hands-free device capable of going at a top speed of 3.7 mph. The rig will combine the visual input from a VR headset and the freedom of movement to make the user feel as if racing on a real track in an alien landscape. The fact that Honda is vesting so much interest in this possibility with the UNI-ONE speaks a lot about how the future is going to pan out in the Metaverse world. According to Honda the extended reality (XR) technology will be perfect for malls, theme parks, or any other indoor or outdoor entertainment hubs with a lot of open space to move around.

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In-Car VR Entertainment Solutions that Promise to Eliminate Motion Sickness

In-car entertainment is gaining importance given the substantial time people spend in vehicles, whether daily commutes, long-distance trips, or leisure journeys. This time can feel unproductive or monotonous, particularly for passengers. Additionally, extended travel can cause discomfort and motion sickness. Car motion sickness often arises from a mismatch between the motion perceived by the eyes and that sensed by the inner ear. This is particularly common when reading or focusing on a stationary object within a moving vehicle.

Designer: holoride

holoride aims to provide engaging in-car entertainment while addressing the common motion sickness problem. It does this through innovative virtual reality synchronized with the vehicle’s motion. By matching the virtual experiences with the car’s real-world movements, holoride creates a cohesive perception of motion. For example, the virtual environment reflects this movement if the vehicle turns. This helps the brain align visual and sensory inputs, reducing the conflict that often causes motion sickness.

The immersive experience of VR entertainment provided by holoride significantly distracts from the monotony or discomfort of travel. Passengers can immerse themselves in a virtual world that moves in sync with the car, transforming the travel experience into an engaging and enjoyable activity. This is especially beneficial on long journeys, where potential hours of boredom or discomfort can be converted into time spent exploring virtual landscapes, playing games, or engaging in other interactive VR experiences.

I first experienced Holoride’s technology at CES 2019. Audi drove me around the Las Vegas Speedway while I played a special demo created by Disney Games and Interactive Experiences. The experience gave me the impression that holoride was on the verge of revolutionizing in-car entertainment by integrating virtual reality (VR) with the car’s movements. The test system utilized Oculus Rift VR glasses, providing a uniquely immersive experience. The initial trial featured a game developed by Disney Games and Interactive Experiences, “Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run,” which I played in a virtual space as the car moved.

holoride’s technology uses the car’s telemetry data to sync the VR experience with real-time car movements, such as turns, acceleration, and braking, creating a seamless blend of the real and virtual worlds. This synchronization helps to minimize motion sickness, a common issue when using VR in a moving vehicle.

One of the exciting features of holoride is its adaptability. The duration of the VR experience can stretch or shrink to match the length of the car journey, making each ride a unique adventure. Beyond just entertainment, it can also offer educational experiences based on the journey’s location.

Though holoride was born within Audi, it’s not exclusive to the automaker and isn’t fully owned by Disney. The plan is to invite additional investors and open the platform to other content creators and automakers. It also has potential for use in autonomous vehicles, and the experience could be enriched by integrating data from the vehicle’s sensors.

In its early stages, holoride aims to enhance the passenger experience, transforming every car ride into a unique adventure. As the platform evolves and attracts more developers, the possibilities for in-car VR experiences are expected to expand significantly.

So, where’s holoride today? holoride, the Munich-based tech company, announced the release of its holoride retrofit device at CES 2023. This product is a compact device that turns any vehicle into a platform for extended reality entertainment. The company recognized as a 2023 CES Innovation Awards honoree, has made its mark in the industry by integrating virtual reality (VR) and real-time vehicle data.

The holoride retrofit device is about the same size as a typical smart speaker. It connects to a VR headset via Bluetooth and uses movement and location data to create adaptive virtual experiences that respond to a vehicle’s movements in real-time. This data-driven approach creates a dynamic experience that helps mitigate motion sickness.

Nils Wollny, CEO and co-founder of holoride said that the retrofit device brings them closer to their goal of making every vehicle a portal into holoride’s immersive world. “Any vehicle can serve as your gateway into holoride’s adaptive virtual experiences where each new ride becomes the blueprint for your next immersive adventure,” Wollny said.

In conjunction with the launch of the retrofit device, holoride also announced an addition to their content library. Subscribers will now have access to a new game, Pixel Ripped 1995: On the Road, from Emmy Award-winning studio ARVORE. The game takes place in a car during a family road trip and is available to all holoride subscribers.

The holoride retrofit device weighs less than half a pound and can be mounted on a vehicle’s windshield. It boasts a 14-hour battery life and can simultaneously connect to two headsets. The device is priced at $199, with a bundle option available for 699€/$, including a HTC VIVE Flow headset, and includes a 3-month holoride subscription and 3-month access to VIVEPORT Infinity Vista.

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Microsoft Mesh lets you hold virtual meetings around virtual bonfires

The hype around the so-called Metaverse seems to have died down a bit. Even Facebook, which changed its name to Meta to emphasize its new mission, has been rather silent on that front, especially in light of AI being the hottest thing in tech these days. With the launch of the Apple Vision Pro, however, interest in mixed reality, as well as AR and VR, is once again on the rise. As such, now seems to be the best time for Microsoft to also make widely available its own virtual meeting platform, Microsoft Mesh, encouraging a new approach to hybrid work arrangements that will have attendees “sitting” around digital bonfires or posh virtual rooms, all for the sake of trying to make people feel more connected even when they’re all just sitting in their own homes.

Designer: Microsoft

In order to shake off the image of something only for games and entertainment, platform developers like Meta and Microsoft try to make mixed reality technologies something that’s actually useful for serious business as well. These usually involve providing virtual spaces for meetings, creating avatars that represent employees, and holding more interactive and livelier gatherings that would otherwise be a boring experience of watching people’s faces in a grid of boxes. In other words, they try to recreate the feelings and emotions of meeting in person when they physically can’t.

Microsoft Mesh is Redmond’s solution to this problem. Think of it like a VR Microsoft Teams and is, in fact, integrated into Microsoft’s collaboration platform. With just a few clicks, you can turn a flat, literally and figuratively, meeting into a 3D virtual experience, complete with bars, chairs, fires, and, of course, a screen inside a screen for showing presentations to your team. You’ll have to create your own personalized avatar, preferably something close to your real-world appearance, and you can decorate your spaces the way you want, including company logos, of course.


Microsoft is leaning heavily on its no-code tools to make Mesh more enticing, in addition to having it tied to Microsoft Teams in the first place. Designing the area is a simple process of dragging and dropping assets as you would in a 3D game editor, thanks to a collaboration with Unity 3D. But if that is already too complex, Microsoft Co-Pilot offers an easier method that utilizes AI to translate your prompts into captivating virtual interiors, or at least the semblance of one. Whether it’s just a simple stand-up meeting that needs everyone to be on their toes, a brainstorming session that requires a bit more creativity, or a presentation that needs to keep people attentive, a virtual meeting space is probably going to help spice things up a bit.

Mesh comes at an interesting time when businesses are actually pushing for their workers to return to the office completely. For many companies, however, hybrid has become an unavoidable and permanent reality, with both the benefits and drawbacks it carries, particularly when it comes to the indirect interaction between humans. Microsoft Mesh is being positioned as the next best thing to support those social connections even when actual physical cues are absent. It’s now being made available for Windows PCs, but those who want a more immersive and convincing experience can enjoy it using their Meta Quest headset. That said, you’ll need a Microsoft subscription as well, so it’s not exactly something that everyone can experience.

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Disney’s intuitive solution to physically moving around in metaverse is the HoloTitle floor

Virtual reality and augmented reality are going to set the tone this decade without a semblance of doubt. Moving around your avatar in larger-than-life worlds tickles your visual senses but you always realize it’s not the real thing since you are sitting or standing still while the character moves around in a virtual environment.

The Virtuix Omini was a good attempt at elevating your multi-dimensional experience in the metaverse but it didn’t fare well owing to its hardware and software limitations. After that things went back to square one, that is till now. The legendary Disney legend Lanny Smoot who’s got over 100 patented inventions has finally created something that’ll interest the most finicky of geeks.

Designer: Disney

This HoloDeck-inspired VR accessory is that’s an omnidirectional treadmill project that’s going to change how virtual reality is experienced. Dubbed the HoloTile, this creation has individual rotating tiles that actuate the real moment of the user corresponding to the movement in the VR world. The modular, expandable treadmill floor lets the user move in an infinite direction without walking off the surface. Lanny who’s currently a Disney Research Fellow has developed this system to create a deeper connection between the VR world and the body movement.

The treadmill can be expanded if multiple users want to use it, without bumping into each other. A good example of this would be several people in a room able to “be somewhere else collaboratively and moving around, seeing, doing sightseeing,” according to Smooth. Another application would be in theatrical stages, where multiple artists can collaborate in virtual worlds for a spectacular performance.

The HoloTile floor is still a work in progress and as we can see from the video it looks promising. Smoot walks in VR wearing the Quest Pro headset, as if walking on a real tarmac. The technology aims to address the locomotion problem without hitting obstacles or feeling clumsy enough to not walk naturally on the surface.

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0² VR headset sets new paradigm by trimming weight without compromising structural integrity or functionality

With the release of the evolutionary new Vision Pro, Apple has taken a detour from the usual mixed reality headsets we have seen in the past. In that effort, Apple has – amid a host of interesting features – scrapped the idea of handheld controllers, the user generally requires to interact with such devices.

Like Apple, which had been working on its first AR/VR headset for almost half a decade now, there are many companies – including Meta – knocking around the idea of AR/VR headsets, but most of these devices usually end up on the beefier side. Presenting a viable alternative is the conceptual new virtual reality headset: 0², but it arrives with handheld controllers!

Designer: RITE

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Using 3D printed technology to build this virtual reality head-mounted display, the designer visions to enhance user experience and address the challenges associated with the weight of such devices. By employing cutting-edge parametric design techniques and 3D printing, 0² manages partial weight reduction off of the headset without compromising structural integrity or functionality.

By delving into the core issues of weight, on the face and head, 0² focuses on optimizing weight and simultaneously enhancing the device’s value proposition for users with its unified and cohesive aesthetic. The headset is characterized by a sleek and rounded form factor and the designer has paid careful attention to the texture of the device to create a visually and tactilely pleasing device.

For this, the headset is 3D printed from plastic and is provided with a metallic finish. The outer casing, however, is finished in durable fabric. All necessary cameras and modules are installed to allow users to fully immerse themselves in the VR experience with the additional assistance of handheld controllers. For a better experience, 0² has an onboard display panel that shows real-time updates about the headset and controllers’ status.

The flexibility provided by 3D printing allows for the creation of complex geometries while the inspiration from modern architectural parametric permits the designer to address the crucial aspects of ventilation and weight with 0² that many companies have been trying to strike a balance with.

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How a touch controller for Apple Vision Pro will enhance gaming in the Metaverse

Apple has created ripples in the VR market with the Vision Pro headset which has a strongly knitted hardware-software integration. The Cupertino giant graced the tech community with a surprise announcement at the WWDC in the first week of June, and ever since, the VR headset has made all the news.

Such is the magnanimity of the hardware showed off by Apple at the event, that just a couple of weeks into the announcement, third-party accessories makers are jumping on the bandwagon. There’s an opulent headband to embellish Apple’s first-ever wearable and we are bracing more accessories for the VR headset when it is finally up for grabs in early 2024.

Designer: Alex Casabò

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Just like the Meta Quest Touch Pro controllers that bring a new level of realism to VR gaming, the Apple VR headset is also destined for a similar accessory. This concept visualizes exactly how the Apple Vision Pro controllers would look and feel in an open-world Metaverse. Alex calls the accessory “Apple Vision Joystick Pro Max” and a proactive third-party accessory maker or even Apple would already be looking up that name to claim.

Perfectly complementing the headset’s modern appeal, these controllers for the Apple headset will be closely knit for smooth functionality no matter what open-world title you throw at them. The joysticks will maximize the gaming experience for all kinds of modern games keeping in mind the VR environment.

The top surface of the controller is donned with a touch-sensitive surface for smart controls like swaying the sword or reloading a potent sniper rifle. A trigger button on one side can be mapped for firing bullets accelerating forward. The crown on one side can be used to go through menus or toggle the volume. All the controls and buttons can be mapped as per the requirements and ergonomic comfort while playing.

The design is something to talk about as the metal finish in silver goes well with the Apple VR headset, and the ecosystem of Apple products. Do we need these controllers? Most definitely we do if Apple’s hardware has to be tested for peak gaming performance and of course enhance the overall experience of gaming in virtual reality.

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Apple Vision Pro gets accessorised in the form of a premium leather Head Band by BandWerk

Apple has set the tech community on steroids with the announcement of the long-awaited virtual reality headset that’s set to change the way we interact with our world. The mixed reality headset was in development for many years now with countless patents and prototype versions marking its inception journey.

The next-generation headset announced at the annual WWDC 2023 conference is by far the most technically advanced VR accessory that the world has seen. Vision Pro backed by Apple’s software integration makes possible a seamless transition from the real world to the virtual world and then to the mixed reality interface.

Designer: BandWerk

Scan through all the tech news lately and Apple’s surprise announcement is making all the headlines. To that accord, premium iPhone case maker BandWerk is not letting go of the opportunity to grab a share of the pie with an announcement of its own. The German accessory provider for the Apple ecosystem has revealed its plans to make available handcrafted leather headbands for the $3,500 Apple headset slated for launch early next year.

The premium headband destined to arrive in five color options – Grey, Creme, Beige, Orange, and Brown – will adapt to the silhouette of the final commercially available headset. For now, BandWerk has only revealed the concept version of the headbands that’ll fill the void of the only single option that deep-pocketed buyers will get with the Vision Pro. According to them, the commercially available luxury headbands will have a precise fit with maximum comfort for longer stints of VR exploration. Durability is another perk that’ll make the $159 price tag totally justified.

The headband will come with a color-matching fabric Light Seal and crafted out of premium Italian leather. This accessory will be made in Germany and then eventually shipped to America and the United Kingdom initially. We can expect more accessories unearthing for the Vision Pro headset as it nears public launch. For now, though, the Apple headset and the third-party headband accessory are only going to be the privilege of the filthy rich or die-hard Apple fans who can afford to buy this exorbitantly priced gadget.

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This mixed reality headset gamifies your fitness regime, trigers healthy habits in a fun way

Mixed reality is transforming the way we perceive and experience the world around us. We can virtually step into an immersive environment that feels almost like the real thing. One useful application of this technology is health gamification. For those who are unaware, gamification is the process of incorporating game elements such as points, rewards, and achievements, into non-game contexts.

The Portalverse VR headset concept is a thoughtful iteration of how virtual reality can be used to promote health and wellness. It’s a sleek and lightweight VR headset designed for comfort and equipped with advanced sensors to track head and eye movements – interacting with the virtual environment naturally.

Designer: Marko Filipic and Mati Papalini

One key feature of Portalverse VR is its ability to gamify health and wellness in one’s daily routine with an avatar that behaves as a real person would. By gamifying these activities, the headset and its accompanying interface (smart mirror) make for an engaging and motivating regime for health-conscious people. The designers envision this headset to be used at home with the Portal smart mirror or outdoors using a smartwatch.

You can use the mixed reality wearable to participate in a virtual exercise class, wherein, real-time will be used to provide feedback on the form and technique. As the user (via the avatar) progresses through the exercise routine, they would earn points and unlock achievements for reaching certain milestones, such as completing a set number of repetitions. The accompanying app customizes the coaching levels and gives important feedback based on the user’s performance.

Another example of how Portalverse VR can be used for health gamification is through meditation. The headset transports the user to a peaceful, virtual environment, for instance, a beach or forest. The app guides the user through a meditation routine, for proper breathing and relaxation techniques. As the user progresses through the routine, they could earn points and rewards for achieving deeper levels of relaxation and mindfulness.

By using advanced VR technology to gamify health and wellness activities, headsets like the Portalverse VR could make it more engaging and motivating for users to adopt healthy lifestyles. VR startups better get some inspiration from this concept mixed reality headset!

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This ground-breaking VR headset incorporates olfactory module to enhance immersion and realism

With advancements in technology, VR experience is becoming more and more realistic. It engages multiple senses to create a truly unforgettable experience. However, one sense that remains untapped in VR is the sense of smell, which plays a significant role in how we identify things and remember them. Introducing ORDOVIC – a VR headset with an olfactory module, designed to elevate the VR experiences with the introduction of smell as a sensory feature.

Ordovic is a cutting-edge VR headset that incorporates an olfactory module, to allow gamers to experience scents of gunpowder in the virtual world. Inspired by the way we use smell to identify things and strengthen memories, the VR headset, with accompanying controllers and earbuds, aims to provide a truly immersive and multisensory experience like never before in VR.

Designer: John Han Lee

By adding the sense of smell to virtual reality, this headset creates a very realistic and memorable experience that engages multiple senses simultaneously. The olfactory module of Ordovic is designed to simulate a wide range of scents, from the smell of salt water when you’re water surfing, or aroma of food when you’re cooking in VR. While gaming in virtual reality, the sense of smell can make the virtual world feel more real and engaging with the addition of this new layer of immersion.

The round plasticky Ordovic is designed to fit comfortably in front of the eyes and fasten around the head. As I can make out, the olfactory module is integrated into the VR headset, providing a synchronized sensory experience that transports the wearer to a whole new level of realism. This creates an unforgettable experience that engages your sense of smell along with your sight and hearing.

This all-new experience can open up a range of applications from gaming to education, and from therapy to training. It’s worth understanding that the availability and variety of scents may depend on the accessibility of olfactory modules and the sensory variation of each individual. Yet, I believe, Ordovic has the potential to provide a truly personalized and unforgettable VR experience.

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ZTE nubia NeoVision Glass AR eyewear hides in plain sight as oversized sunglasses

Although it does have the word “mobile” in it, MWC has long ceased to just be about smartphones and tablets. These days, anything you can pick up and use on the go is labeled as mobile, sometimes including laptops. When it comes to portability, however, wearables have become quite the fad, and this category isn’t just limited to smartwatches or “hearables” like earbuds and hearing aids. One strong presence at MWC 2023 this year seems to be headsets and eyewear, particularly those designed for augmented and virtual reality applications. Not to be left behind, ZTE’s nubia is showcasing its first-ever AR eyewear, and it seems to be trying to be a bit more fashionable at the expense of a bit of freedom of movement.

Designer: ZTE

As far as mixed reality headgear and eyewear are concerned, the trend seems to be going in the direction of cramming all the necessary hardware inside the device, unlike the first-gen Oculus Quest and HTC Vive headsets that needed to be connected to a powerful PC with a cable. A standalone headset does have tradeoffs, though, especially when you consider the weight of the hardware and the built-in battery. That’s why some devices still try to aim for a completely lightweight and comfortable design, even if it means offloading the brunt of the work to external devices.

The new ZTE nubia NeoVision Glass is one such type of device. It’s incredibly lightweight at 79g, but it’s not lacking when it comes to display quality. It boasts Micro-OLED screens with 3500 PPI and a binocular resolution of 1080p, giving the wearer the equivalent of a 120-inch screen floating before their eyes. It doesn’t skimp on the audio either, with two omnidirectional speakers and a cyclonic sound tank. All in all, it promises a full range of multimedia experiences for both your ears and your eyes.

The nubia NeoVision Glass also advertises high compatibility with a wide range of devices, including phones, computers, and consoles. It’s “plug and play,” which suggests that it doesn’t come with its own computer inside, though ZTE wasn’t exactly clear on that part. It does mean that you can use any device or platform you want, though it also means you’ll be rooted on the spot near that device unless it’s something you can carry around.

ZTE does, however, pay special attention to both the looks of the eyewear as well as its accessibility. Magnetic lenses make it trivial to swap out different sunglasses designs, and it supports zero to 500-degree myopic adjustment for those that need to wear prescription glasses. It’s still relatively bulky compared to typical sunglasses, but few will realize that you’re viewing the world through a different set of lenses, figuratively and literally.

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