HTC has teamed up with a company called Holoride to let you use its Vive Flow VR headset to transform your car into an amusement park — without making you carsick. The idea is that when you don the headset, you’ll appear inside a roller coaster or other experience, but the motion will match up perfectly with the movement of the car.
Holoride is backed in part by Audi with the aim of creating “an entirely new media category for passengers by connecting Extended Reality (XR) content with data points from the vehicle in real time,” according to the press release. The Vive Flow, meanwhile, is a lightweight (189 gram or 0.42 pounds), $499 VR headset built specifically for entertainment and wellness.
It’s not just amusement parks you’ll be able to visit virtually, but also “virtual worlds” along with 2D content on a “virtual, motion-synchronized cinema screen,” Holoride notes. In other words, it sounds like it’ll also let you watch movies or other content without barfing as you normally might on a regular screen.
Holoride is not exactly reinventing the wheel here, as I had a similar experience back in 2017 with Renault’s Symbioz concept EV, that drove me 80 MPH while I wore a VR headset. The experience was surprisingly seamless, even back then, as the virtual environment matched up perfectly with the vehicle’s movement on the autoroute (freeway) — keeping me from feeling sick. Audi, Volvo and other automakers have also played with VR headsets that synchronize visuals with vehicle movement. We previously tested out Holoride on a larger VR headset (above).
Holoride will operate on what is perhaps a more practical and lightweight headset, though it’s not exactly cheap at $499. It offers decent visuals with two 1.6K, 75 Hz displays with a 100-degree field of view. However, one downside for this purpose is that it doesn’t have as many motion sensors as more classic VR headsets, so it requires a mirror-mounted dongle to help track vehicle motion.
A headset also isn’t very social, but it could be useful on long trips if you or the driver want to take a conversation break. There’s no word yet on when the experience might arrive, but Holoride will be showing it off at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona from February 28th to March 3rd.