Theme Park Blends A Roller Coaster Ride With VR Space Travel
Does your usual roller coaster ride ain’t giving you the needed adrenaline rush? A new twist on the physical roller coaster is about to be launched by a theme park by combining an intergalactic space travel using virtual reality with a roller coaster ride.
Alton Towers seeks to change how you ride roller coasters with its upcoming “Galactica” roller coaster, which is shaping up as an ambitious VR project. By combining a virtual world experience with the physical roller coaster, thrill-seekers will be on a new kind of treat.
The British theme park is planning to open its Galactica roller coaster in April, giving riders a space-themed experience with the help of Samsung Gear VR headsets. The ride will last for three minutes, during which you’ll be able to blaze through the depths of VR space. According to Alton Towers, no other roller coaster has ever been dedicated entirely to VR, so its Galactica will mark a first.
The project involves the story of Galactica, a space tourism company that takes “Galactanaut” pioneers on their first trip through space. The virtual reality visuals part of the roller coaster ride will transport riders into space, push them into a warp tunnel and carry them across mysterious galaxies for the ride of a lifetime.
Roller coaster rides often are accompanied with motion sickness effects to some, so does virtual reality. To prevent riders from nauseating while on this wild ride, Alton Towers took some preventive measures. The roller coaster itself will be a rebranded, modified version of Alton Towers’ Air ride, and it will involve hefty shoulder straps that aim to prevent people from moving their head right or left. This way, the systems will only have to motion-track the roller coaster rather than all riders’ body movements.
Moreover, each individual headset will apparently have its own sensors to ensure the space visuals are properly synchronized when riders move their head vertically. A custom tethering system, meanwhile, is Alton Towers’ way of making sure the headset will not fall off wearers’ face, while head straps will serve to keep sweat off the gadget.
For those who do not fancy strapping a VR headset while riding on a roller coaster, they have the option to take the ride as-is, without the virtual space travel.