Thomas Wagner apporached Mack Rides about the possibility of a virtual reality rollercoaster experiment in February of this year and, together with his students from the Kaiserslautern University in Germany, they took an Oculus Rift headset onto a real rollercoaster to create an intense virtual experience.
It's an experiment that the industry has already seen before, but really - when can you say 'no' to a rollercoaster ride with virtual reality experiences? 'Never' is the correct answer.
The group teamed up with rollercoaster builder Mack Rides and created several apps for Rift headsets and laptops. The VR "ride" apps were synced to the coaster's motion by tracking their wheels and using human monitors, and the apps cover various themes like a wacky flying horse chariot ride, a submarine tour and a space shooter complete with a gamepad (see the video, below).
The experiment took place on two different rollercoasters, provided by Mack Rides. The two rides were Blue Fire and Pegasus in the Europa Park. The coaster maker and researchers are keen to commercialize the experience at some point, however there is no further information on this yet.
Thomas Wagner posted a vimeo video
of the experiment, saying "While working out technical solutions and patent matters, we weren't able to go public any earlier," he continued, "Of course, we had a hard time watching the first videos of people riding coasters with an Oculus Rift surfacing on the web - while we had already been performing dozens and dozens of such rides. But, knowing that with Mack Rides we're having a major industry partner on our side, we were always confident that their amazing support would still make for a great and successful publication of this project, even if it would take some time."
Some of the discoveries made from their experience include: no motion sickness or dizziness, you don't need in-game rails (it takes away some of the surprse element for users), the VR track can be more complex than the actual track, and interaction is still possible (the experience includes a game pad with buttons, etc.). For more information on these discoveries, visit VR Coaster
Check out the video footage below to see how the experiment went!
Augmented Thrill Ride Project - The very first Oculus Rift VR rides on real roller coasters from Thomas Wagner on Vimeo.
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: DNA Association