It’s a known fact that the more rich you are, the more eccentric you are allowed to be in the eyes of society. As such, if you are a multi-billion dollar corporation, as a collective entity you’re allowed to be pretty damn unconventional from time to time, so long as that bottom line is in the black.
I mention this since the rationale “because we can” seems to be the only reason behind Hyundai’s recent one person transportation vehicle prototype.
They call it the E4U, and it’s designed for…you know I’m really not sure. I can tell you it can move in any direction, but only in an omni-directional manner, thanks to its kickstand style wheel substitutes. Also it’s apparently not much faster than the average pedestrian, which is really for the best considering the view of one of these rocketing towards you is probably a declaration of war somehow.
Unveiled at the Seoul motorshow, details about this transport device are few, including if it will ever see release and what combination of hallucinogens and uppers were taken that allowed the E4U to be conceptualized and produced, without killing everyone involved.
Since we know so little about it, I have a few personal questions that need answering:
Why is its brow furrowed? Has it anticipated our mockery and is displeased?
Are there any features that prevent neighborhood kids from pushing it over, or turning it in the opposite direction, besides their inability to stop laughing?
Considering that the average person can pull out a device smaller than their hand and access the collective general knowledge of the world, and that a group of above average people managed to shoot a remotely operated vehicle on a planet hundreds of millions of miles away, it takes a lot for a new technological idea to make you take notice.
But that is the case with Ikei Laboratory’s Virtual Body Technology, as it explores that age old fascinating concept of virtual reality in an exciting and new way, where the user is allowed to see, hear, smell, and feel what another person would be seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling in a completely different part of the world.
It’s not quite stepping into someone else’s shoes, especially as the avatar isn’t real and the experience is predetermined, but what’s impressive is the sheer set up of the device, which revolves around a motion capable chair facing a 3D monitor, surrounded by fans that simulate smells and sensations (like the wind), while the user wears a pair of high quality headphones and fits themselves into a foot rig that’s motion and vibration can simulate walking and running. It’s extremely comprehensive in recreating genuine physical experiences.
Honestly, this kind of thing has been around for a while, and is even used in high-tech movie theaters and theme parks as an attraction. This design is slightly different though in how many sensations and experiences it can recreate and, more importantly, how accurately it can recreate them. Even with all of our technological advancements, virtual reality is still an idea that eludes us in the classic sense of the term, but this device is a practical step forward in closing in on the idea.
Right now the main motivation behind the device is to allow elderly people who may be unable to do so traditionally the chance to explore new places in the most complete way possible. However, it is also capable of scenarios like recreating the sensation of running like world champion Usain Bolt. In other words, it has the potential to provide a uniquely entertaining experience for anyone who straps themselves in.
Well, unless they choose the Jay Cutler simulator.