What started out in 2014 as an experimental research project between the University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern and renowned roller coaster manufacturer Mack Rides GmbH & Co KG now becomes a commercial add-on that can be equipped to basically any roller coaster in the world.
Since early 2014, we've been doing research on extending real roller coasters with VR headsets – both combined perfectly using our path measurement system for a precise synchronization. And, ever since our very first tests, we knew that this would change the way people will be experiencing thrill rides forever.
We soon saw that, to make this concept viable for a worldwide utilization, we had to target the new generation of "mobile" VR headsets.
We have developed a patent pending process of enabling roller coasters, rides, vehicles (or even gym devices) to automatically synchronize with any personal mobile Virtual Reality (or Augmented Reality) headsets of the passengers.
This "mobile" approach solves all the classic VR issues, such as hygienics, damaging vibrations of mounted computers, cable issues or maintenance of VR hardware, just to name a view. It only needs our position sensor / sender unit to be attached to the coaster cars for the communication with the mobile devices.
Devices like the Samsung Gear VR or the Microsoft Hololens already show the enormous potential of mobile VR / AR technology.
These headsets can either be brought by the visitors or simply rented when entering the theme park. Then everybody can discover the VR-equipped rides over and over again with totally different VR-experiences, always using their own personal headset. And of course this system can also be applied to normal funfair rides. The passengers only need to run our VR Coaster app on their mobile device and the rest will work automatically.
We've presented this concept at IAAPA 2014 in Orlando and have already received tremendous feedback from the industry.
If you'd like to be one of the first to equip your ride with this system, feel free to contact us.
Interactivity and Gaming
In a second step, we'll go even further.
Imagine you're flying through a space battle with some sci-fi-cannons that automatically follow your head movement. Then you simply press a button on the handles of your coaster seat, this will be reported to the app on your device and the virtual cannons start firing!
And it also works in the other direction: If an explosion takes place in virtual reality, the app can send a signal to trigger force feedback – like the vibration of your seat!
Why not expand this idea to mounting a simple joystick to the handles: On so called spinning coasters, the cars can be rotated during the ride – now imagine you and your friends are sitting in a gun turret on top of a giant space ship. One of you controls the rotation of the car while the others are firing.
This might very well be the most intense multiplayer experience ever.