Most people would probably agree that a roller coaster with a 105-foot-tall vertical loop doesn’t need any added thrills. Our nerves can only handle so much, after all. But the guys at VR Coaster think differently, and decided to up the adrenaline ante by bringing Oculus Rift into an amusement park.
Thomas Wagner, a professor in the Virtual Design department at the University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern, wanted to merge virtual reality with a thrill ride, and subsequently approached German roller coaster manufacturer Mack Rides to collaborate. They ended up creating a VR roller coaster experience where the Rift is synced to the ups and downs and loops of the Blue Fire and Pegasus coasters in Europa-Park, Germany. As riders enjoy the blood pressure-raising kinetics, they are treated to visuals of an asteroid field or whizz along on a flying coach across a fantasy landscape populated by dragons.
VR Coaster will continue to test their “augmented thrill rides” and further develop the technology in hopes of eventually bringing it to other parks and countries. The video shows the test subjects holding laptops and game controllers while mid-ride — so, presumably, this project has a ways to go before all the kinks are worked out. Regardless, we’re getting vertigo just thinking about what Kingda Ka would be feel like with the added sensory kick of Rift.
You can check out riders’ reactions in the video below and find out what insights the group made about the mechanics of roller coasters and VR over on their website. And below you can see the VR version of the Pegasus track.
By Kevin Holmes