HTC’s Fitness VR Headset Looks Amazing, Too Bad It’s Not Real

A woman wearing a VR headset while exercising
HTC

Earlier today, several sites reported an apparent leak of an upcoming HTC fitness-focused headset. It looks comfy and well-designed to prevent the sweaty head issues most VR headsets face. Unfortunately, HTC has no intention of making the HTC Vive Air headset. And that’s a shame.

It’s a strange turn of events. The World Design Guide Awards revealed the HTC Vive Air and talked up its design features. According to the listing, the HTC Vive Air is “specially designed for virtual fitness, optimized for high intensity with long use. Inspired by sports shoes, the new headset introduces knitted materials to VR to provide unprecedented comfort and fit.” It even lists a release date of “sometime in 2021.”

A concept image of a shoe-material VR headset
HTC

Most VR headsets create two problems during any fitness activity. First, they add heat to your head, which is already hot from exercise. And then they trap sweat in the headset. Unless you go out of your way to buy a silicone wrap, you’ll lift off your headset and discover a pool of sweat that pours down your face.

But the Vive Air’s ventilation should prevent some of that and keep things cooler. Even better, the listing says the soft fabric materials are removable and washable. Just remove the faceplate, and you can wash the rest. That’s not the case for many other VR headsets, and eventually, you’re looking at gross sweat-stained materials. It even houses four large cameras for inside-out tracking. 

A shoe-material VR headset, with the display face plate removed
HTC

Alas, after all the excitement, HTC confirmed it’s not making the Vive Air headset. It’s just a concept only, and some of its features may end up in future headsets. But the Vive Air will never be a real product you can buy. In a statement to Upload VR, the company said:

It’s exciting to see our concept piece, the VIVE Air VR headset, win an iF Design Award. 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.

That’s a pity, as more and more fitness-focused Virtual Reality apps appear every day. You can box, row, bike, and dance in VR. But you’ll have to deal with the sweat issues. At least for now.

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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