Newly leaked images tease a fitness-focused VR headset from HTC, but is this sneaker-like hardware even real?
It appears as though congratulations are in order. It was discovered earlier today that HTC has won an award IF Design Award for a never-before-seen VR headset, the HTC Vive Air.
Designed specifically with VR fitness in mind, this unique-looking device features a breathable fabric design and a detachable faceplate, which enables you to easily clean the headset frame after an extra-sweaty session of Supernatural or FitXR. Four onboard cameras allow for inside-out tracking, removing the need for external trackers, such as ones used for the HTC Vive and original Oculus Rift respectively.
“VIVE Air VR headset is specially designed for virtual fitness, optimized for high intensity with long use,” states the IF Design website.
“Inspired by sports shoes, the new headset introduces knitted materials to VR to provide unprecedented comfort and fit. The breathable and quick-drying fabrics improve ventilation in the heated exercise. The innovative lightweight structure allows users to forget the presence of the head-mounted display to focus on virtual content. The quick-release design allows the removal of ergonomic soft components for washing.”
Sounds great, right? There’s just one problem: this headset doesn’t actually exist.
After making headlines across the web, HTC released an official statement to UploadVR confirming that the HTC Vive Air is only a concept and that there are no plans for an official product launch.
“It’s exciting to see our concept piece, the VIVE Air VR headset, win an iF Design Award,” the statement reads. “While this is only a concept, the design language has elements and inspirations you’ll see elsewhere in our products. We’re not ones to rest on our laurels, so although it’s great to win this award, we have business to attend to – hopefully we’ll see you on 11/12 May at VIVECON.”
Today’s leak comes at a particularly interesting time considering the fact that the company is expected to announce a new VR headset next month during its inaugural Vivecon 2021 event.
The idea of a fitness-focused VR headset does bring up several interesting points regarding growing trends within the VR industry. Facebook’s Oculus Premium App Subscriptions—a paid subscription service that allows users to access additional content from select games and apps—features several VR fitness experiences, such as FitXR and VZfit. With more people than ever jumping on the VR fitness bandwagon, the idea of fitness-focused VR hardware is sounding more appealing every day.
Feature Image Credit: IF Design