Oculus Rift Gives Roller Coaster Riders A Fantasy Thrill

What more can you add to a totally huge, incredibly long, and absolutely bad ass roller coaster? Why add some Oculus Rift helmets, of course! This might be just a research project for University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern professor Thomas Wagner, but it could also mark the start of a revolution in VR-based theme parks.

The Oculus Rift was designed to be used at home or, at the very least, on the ground. But the VR headset has really pushed our concepts of virtual reality and is just begging to be put to the test. And what better way to do that than to use the Oculus Rift in places it was never meant to. Like a roller coaster traveling at 115 km/h.

Wagner went to German roller coaster maker Mack Rides with the idea of augmenting the ride experience with the help of a virtual reality headset, specifically the Oculus Rift. Fortunately, Mack Rides was quite open to the partnership. The current setup isn't perfected yet, as it requires a "controller" to sit beside the person wearing the headset to make sure that the video feed is in sync with the movements of the train. Still, the results are, in the words of one of the testers, epic.

The discoveries that were made in these experiments are just as notable as the ride itself. For one, riders with issues and fears or motion sickness reported not experiencing any of their usual physical reactions when experiencing the ride through virtual eyes. Second is the fact that the Oculus headset is apparently capable of withstanding the speed and forces that would have otherwise turned its sensors into disarray. But perhaps most interesting is the fact that VR can actually fool your body and your mind into thinking that the whole track is longer than it really is or that the real-world braking process is actually an acceleration instead. These lessons can very well serve as the basis for extending the roller coaster experience or creating themes in VR rides of the future.

Of course, some might not actually want to buy into this, no matter how fanciful it may sound. To some, part of the thrill of a roller coaster ride is seeing the real world, seeing real movement, and experiencing the real dangers of the ride. That said, it might be possible to simply just reuse roller coaster tracks for VR-specific passes, or even offer a mix of VR and non-VR seats in the same train. That, of course, all depends on how ubiquitous VR will be in the future. But even if it fails to gain traction in living room or gaming spaces, this is probably one place that the Oculus Rift can start calling "home".

SOURCE: VR Coaster

VIA: VG247