Honda’s Seated Segway Uses Mixed Reality to Make Personal Mobility Feel Futuristic

It’s a strange combo, but it might just work.

Honda Uni-One paired with a VR headset

I can’t decide if Honda’s “extended reality experience” is a bleak look into a Wall-E-like future or just a fun and innocent way to make virtual reality a little more immersive.

In either case, Honda clearly wants to shake VR up by combining it with the Uni-One personal mobility device. Like a seated version of the Segway, the Uni-One controls itself depending on your posture. Once you get the hang of things, Honda dares you to throw on a virtual reality headset while you’re riding the Uni-One for a fully immersive experience.

Honda has made some quirky personal mobility solutions before, like its Motocompacto electric scooter that folds down into the size of a briefcase. Still, we weren’t expecting Honda to be the one to combine an electric wheelchair and virtual reality applications. Strange as it may seem, it might actually work, though. After all, it does provide a solution for a more realistic mechanism for moving around in virtual reality. On the plus side, it can also give those with mobility issues a more immersive VR experience.

Safety First

It feels like you have to put a lot of faith in Honda’s Uni-One to be okay with strapping on a VR headset while you’re riding. Honda’s design features self-balancing technology and multiple sensors that detect your posture, which is reassuring. If you have any experience with a Segway, it’ll feel natural to lean forward to accelerate and lean back to slow down or reverse.

Don’t worry about getting thrown off this thing, since the Uni-One tops out 3.7 mph and has a waist strap to keep you secured. Honda even included a stabilization function where it won’t lean too far forward and buck you off. Even though the Uni-One is a seated device, you can set it to a high position where you’ll be closer to eye level with someone who’s standing. On the other hand, you can also set it to low so you can maintain level with someone sitting.

You’re only getting five miles of range with the Uni-One, but it’s not like you’re doing any serious touring on it. We’re not sure what VR headset Honda is using in its demo, but we don’t see why this wouldn’t work with any of the popular options out there.

The Uni-One has a ton of safety features built-in.


Debuting at SXSW 2024

Honda says you can try out its unique VR experience at SXSW 2024, where the Uni-One will be making its U.S. debut. Honda says it’ll have a “choose your VR adventure” game set up at its booth, starting March 10. Before we judge it too harshly, it’s at least worth a test drive at SXSW.

If you miss that chance, Honda shares a vision where this VR experience with its Uni-One will be available at theme parks, shopping malls, and other entertainment spaces. Honda even thinks the Uni-One could be used as an extension for XR games, particularly racing games. We’re still waiting for the VR treadmill to take off, though.

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