Crazy XR devices that will blow away your mind – Episode 2

Welcome to the second episode of the series of articles that celebrate the craziest XR devices I’ve got to know about. They may be XR genius solutions completely ahead of their time, or just some things that will make you ask yourself “What the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck?”. But in any case, they are devices that are worth a (funny) comment. In the first episode, we talked about some amazing things like the Ekto VR shoes, and now in this episode, we’ll see other crazy stuff, like an installation that made you fly in VR! Are you ready?

(Remember that these articles are made for fun, I like to joke about this crazy stuff, but actually, I’m a big lover of all crazy inventions… and if you find your product in this post, you should consider it as a token of appreciation!)

PlayStation feet controller

In a patent filed by the team behind the PlayStation, the company proposed a controller that lets you walk in VR with your feet. It is made of two large trackballs that you can rotate with your feet to walk and rotate in VR. I’m a guy that hated trackballs even when I had to use them with my hands, you can imagine my love in seeing this abomination that has to be used with your feet. Looks to me totally unusable, it seems to have been made just to violate any usability rule. Not to mention the fact that it seems something that you must use with your bare feet to guarantee the right accuracy of movements, meaning that after prolonged usage, that thing could start smelling like mature cheese.

I guess the guy designing it had a passion for hamsters and a foot fetish, and decided to invent a device that was able to mix both of his interests. For sure Quentin Tarantino is going to buy a few, but I’m going to pass on it…

You can read more about it at this link: https://www.tweaktown.com/news/95153/sony-patents-odd-vr-foot-controller-with-giant-trackballs/index.html

Mutalk

shiftall mutalk
shiftall mutalk (Image by Shiftall)

If someone made the fetish controller with a love for hamsters, I guess the love of dogs led the design of the Mutalk. Mutalk is a device that looks like a dog muzzle that you can wear to silence your mouth, so that people in VR can hear what you are saying, while people around you in real life will not. The device works very well for this second purpose: after seeing you with that thing on your face, you can make sure that all your friends will abandon you, so there will never be anyone around you hearing what you are saying in VR.

mutalk how does it work
How Mutalk does work (Image by Shiftall)

Actually, I think that more than a muzzle in the real world, we would need also a virtual muzzle to silence all the kids in the social VR worlds. I hope they are working also on this product. Seeing all the posts complaining about kids in VR, it would sell like hotcakes.

The company offering Mutalk is called Shiftall. I know you’ve read it badly: remember, the “f” comes before the “t”. The name with the letters inverted, shit falls, is instead a representation of my life.

You can read more about this device (which reached its second edition!) at its official website: https://en.shiftall.net/products/mutalk2

Dentsu’s hugs mannequin

Yes, this thing exists and I’ve also seen it at SXSW two years ago

If everyone has abandoned you in your life because they saw you wearing the Mutalk but you still need to feel the warm sensation of hugging someone, don’t worry because Dentsu got you covered.

It has developed a solution called “Hugtics”: it lets you wear a special haptic vest, wearing which you have to hug a special mannequin to feel the sensation of hugs. The vest features artificial muscles to let you feel the hug, plus some colored LEDs that get colored depending on the emotion you are feeling, so you can also visualize your hug.

This is the most “forever-alone” piece of technology I’ve ever seen.

You can learn more about it at its official website: https://motiondatalab.com/hugtics/

The VR masturbation pods

Yes, you’ve read it well

Eeehm…cough… cough… maybe there is actually some more “forever alone” tech out there…

A few years ago, I got to read this post about a company wanting to substitute the existing phone boxes with “masturbation pods”. Because you know, public phones are getting useless nowadays, so we have to think about creative ways on how to use these boxes in the street. And of course, the first idea that comes to your mind when thinking about how to use these places is converting them to… well, that thing, no?

Reading the news I got curious. I have a few questions about it:

  • On today’s phone booths there is clearly written that they are phone booths. Will the future M-pods also have this clearly written, so that everyone knows that you need some love, or will still be written they are phone boxes to not reveal your real intentions?
  • If there is still written “phone box”, won’t it be suspicious for your friends that every time you go out with them you need to use phone boxes 3-4 times even if you have a next-gen smartphone?
  • Do I really have to take in my hand the controllers that the guy before me used?
  • Is the point before the reason why Meta invested so much in reliable hand tracking? Boz, we need an answer…
  • Is there inside a Hugtics hugging mannequin if I want some cuddles in the aftermath?
  • Will the walls of the boxes be transparent like in today’s phone booths or can I have some privacy?
  • Will Superman still change his clothes inside there? Will he sanitize the place before? Does he wear glasses because he is a frequent user of the pods?

The first step of the idea was actually starting with offering pods in companies to make employees relax. You can read about this idea here: https://futurism.com/the-byte/company-vr-masturbation-pod

Lying down VR

Today is Monday and like every one of you, when the alarm rang, I had no willingness to get out of bed. So what if we could live all our lives just lying in the bed?

It seems some researchers are working on it: thanks to a tip by Ivan Aguilar, I got to know all the experimentations of a Japanese team about feeling standing in VR while lying down on a bed. This way you can wake up, put on a headset, and feel like standing while actually still being in the bed. This is the dream of my life coming true. This is next-gen couch potato: to be a couch potato you have at least to get out of bed, make a few steps, and go sitting on the couch. It’s even beyond Wallie, when people were seated down. Here you can just be super lazy. We should fund this more.

You can find an example of these studies in the video below:

$39,000 Vision Pro

These days we are all discussing the sales numbers of XR headsets, commenting how it’s hard for the Apple Vision Pro to have big sales with a $3500 price tag. And you know how many people in the community said that the Vision Pro is too cheap and should be much more expensive? Literally no one, but someone did it anyway.

Thinking that $3500 is a price for peasants, luxury brand Caviar has invented a cover for the Apple Vision Pro that costs $39000.

Ryan Reynolds Reaction GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
We all wondered this, but we got no answer

The fun thing about all of this is that to reach that price, the cover features 3.3 pounds (around 1.5 kg) of gold. The Vision Pro is already front-heavy by itself, and with all this gold on top of it, it is probably going to break your neck. You spend $39000 for the cover and then you have to spend another $39000 for physiotherapy. And it is even worse that from the pictures it seems that the cover also features a glass in front of it, which may degrade the quality of your passthrough vision and the impact the effect of the EyeSight display. So you spend a lot of money to ruin your neck and your headset: basically, a great deal.

caviar vision pro
(Image by Caviar)

At this point, if you want to show your peers you have money, you can burn 50 Quest 3s in front of them… it would still be cheaper and doesn’t require you to ruin your Vision Pro…

You can read a report about it here: https://www.cultofmac.com/822213/covering-apple-vision-pro-with-18k-gold-raises-price-to-a-mere-39000/

Airflow

Do you want to fly?

MindRide’s Airflow was one of the coolest projects at the good old Oculus times. I had forgotten about it, but the super-expert Ori Inbar signaled it to me as a device to put on this list. In Airflow you had to wear an enormous harness, an Oculus Rift DK 2 headset (yes, a lot of time has passed by), and be in a chamber where a big fan blew air on you. On the outside, you looked like tied up in a BDSM room, but from the inside, you could have the amazing sensation of flying. The device actually got great reviews from the journalists who tried it.

Unluckily, it seems that MindRide closed its doors some years ago. Probably its people realized that to have the sensation to fly it’s easier and cheaper to just take a few mushrooms…

The epic Kent Bye made a podcast episode about them and you can hear it here: https://www.roadtovr.com/flying-vr-mindrides-airflow-takes-immersion-next-level/

BONUS: Pants Pants Revolution

From the Oculus Rift DK 2 times, I want also to remember a gem of a game: Pants Pants Revolution. It was a bit Dance Dance Revolution, a bit Guitar Hero, and a lot What The Fuck… judge it yourself from the video:

A true pioneering game…

I think Meta should announce this game at the next Meta Connect… who needs GTA VR when you can make a game about you removing your pants at the rhythm of the music? This can become the most played game in the masturbation pods…


This is the end of the second episode of this series of articles about the crazy XR devices I’ve seen these years! Don’t forget to send me a list of some crazy, experimental, or nonsense XR products that you know about so that I can put them in the next episode! Stay hungry, stay crazy, my friends!

(Header image by Shiftall)

The post Crazy XR devices that will blow away your mind – Episode 2 appeared first on The Ghost Howls.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://skarredghost.com/2024/05/06/crazy-xr-devices-2/