Honda built a powered chair to zoom around theme parks while wearing an AR headset. ( )

At the upcoming SXSW Conference... Honda will give attendees a chance to try out a new mobility device... specifically designed for mixed reality entertainment experiences.

Users can steer... without the use of their hands — they simply have to lean into one direction to move forwards, backwards, sideways or diagonally.

Wall-e humans in mobile chairs with AR

Interstellar_1 , avatar

Hasn't a version of this existed like since at least 2015?


recursive_recursion , avatar

I upvoted as soon as I saw the wall-e pic lol

21Cabbage ,

First thought that comes to mind is 'collision avoidance'.

HaywardT ,

Don't move fast enough to dodge the dragon? Get hit by a bus. Adds realism.

21Cabbage ,

I was literally on board a bus that damn near got in a head on with a wrong way driver when I received this.

HaywardT ,

Driving with a vr headset probably

21Cabbage ,

It happened again this morning. You should've seen the look on the tourists faces when I laughed and said it happens a lot.

MasterHound ,

Exclusive to the American market I presume /s

Jubei_K_08 ,

No, the chair's weight limit is 242 pounds. That's not enough for the might of our bodacious temples.

melroy Admin , (edited )
melroy avatar

This let me think directly about some movie everybody where sitting in wheel chairs with VR glasses. I think it was some kind of animation movie.

Annoyed_Crabby ,

Floor-Y or something? Idk i didn't watch anime.

threelonmusketeers ,

No no, I think it was more like "Ceiling-B" or something...

Slyme , avatar

Foundation-S maybe?

melroy Admin ,
melroy avatar

Ow.. now I see, in Mbin I didn't saw the image in the thread by default. But yea it was Wall-e of course.

jordanlund , avatar

As someone who uses a chair regularly...

  1. No back support. Whoever sits on that will be hating life in less than 20 minutes.

  2. Leaning to make the chair move, what if I'm just uncomfortable and need to change position?

  3. The little caster wheels at each corner are useless and will get caught on any imperfection in the road or texture change, bringing the chair to a halt.

Did they actually, you know, talk to any disabled people while designing this?

gamermanh ,

Did they actually, you know, talk to any disabled people while designing this?

No, why would they when that's not the target demographic or use case?

specifically designed for mixed reality entertainment experiences

Sounds like they're not in use as mobility devices for the disabled but as a more interactive ride vehicle at an attraction, which also means the uncomfortableness is less of an issue and that they'll likely be used in places where the caster wheels will be on smooth surfaces and not an issue

Frankly this sounds like a neat idea and could be something very cool, but we'll have to see it in action first and the first generation or 2 are likely to suck monkey balls

Jtotheb ,

Well, maybe the first generation or two wouldn’t suck if they had consulted people who use wheelchairs and know how they should be designed. Too bad they thought the same way you do and said ‘why bother’!

eethi ,

On top of what OP said, why aren't disabled people one of the target demographics*? Its literally a gaming experience that is mobile was also being able to be super accessible physically for a lot of disabled people. It's also bad design practices, you need to consider access from the start - trying to shoehorn it in later can lead to sub-par access measures, or much bigger re-designs, or worst case just, parts of it not being accessible at all.

TheaoneAndOnly27 , (edited )

There's a really cool episode of the podcast Factually touching on what you're talking about.

(Side note, I've never seen this website but I really dig that it has question and answer summaries on the bottom. That was super cool.)

Edit: also, as somebody who is disabled who can't lean forward without intense pain, these wheelchairs would be hell.

Boatman ,

The little caster wheels at each corner are useless and will get caught on any imperfection in the road or texture change, bringing the chair to a halt.

That's when it's in the parked position. When it's in motion the seat is raised and the wheels get out of the way.

jordanlund , avatar

If you zoom in on the photo of the chairs ostensibly "in motion" with the 4 support wheels lifted up and out of the way, the chair is still using little caster wheels underneath that will be a problem. You can see them at the corners.

These sorts of wheels are so problematic that there's an aftermarket wheel for standard chairs to lift them up off the ground.

spacecowboy ,

This future is lame.

givesomefucks ,

The mixed reality actually makes this make sense.

The big draw back with that is weight and battery life. Throwing it on a scooter negates all that, only the display and audio needs to be in the head unit.

And hands free steering frees them up to navigate the mixed reality.

If they're smart about it, it can monitor wait times and distance, maybe even how many are enroute to each ride. So no matter where you are, you know how long till your on any ride.

Like sure, dystopian as fuck.

But the people in Wall-E had a life sooooo much better than modern Americans. Unless there was some Morlock worker group we never saw

SmoothLiquidation ,

I watched Wall-E last weekend. They didn't mention in the Buy-N-Large advertisement that the Morlock worker group was left on earth to starve when the upper class was sent to live on a luxury liner.

givesomefucks ,

I mean, it's not going to happen anyways.

No park would get these, because people would just zoom around the park and wait in huge lines.

They want people walking slow and getting tired so you buy a $10 fountain drink and $15 soft pretzel. The want parents tired and stopping at games/shops for a break and their kid begging for money

witty_username ,

This path is disgusting

Shady_Shiroe , avatar

Soon, humans will forget how to walk

glowie , avatar


just_another_person ,

Good, Gourd. Can we please just stop all this abstraction away from the real world? It's all a little too Brave New World. We just need Soma and our AR goggles, and then we never need to leave the house again. 🤦

Bishma , avatar

We just need Soma

Maybe why our keepers are allowing pot to be legalized.

motor_spirit ,

Lmao I don't think pot is supposed to be the analog but probably in somebody's mind, yes

pearsaltchocolatebar ,
paraphrand ,

People already sleep in SocialVR in VR headsets. Social Sleeping.

Thats just the tip of the spear.

BearOfaTime ,


RampantParanoia2365 ,

Don't be ridiculous. You can't sleep in a VR headset. I can't even sleep with a watch on.

ininewcrow , avatar

Too late .... American pharmaceuticals basically medicate the entire world with all kinds of exotic drugs for all kinds of mental disorders, conditions and situations.

It's so normalized now that most people don't even acknowledge that they, their family, their friends or the people they know are taking some sort of anti depressant, anti psychotic, simulant or mood altering drug to treat some condition.

I get it some modern drugs are needed by some people to treat a debilitating condition but I refuse to believe that a large percentage of the world needs all these drugs on a regular basis.

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