Theme parks using virtual reality (VR) is nothing new, with locations like Six Flags and Alton Towers utilising the technology to enhance rollercoasters with immersive imagery. Combining high-tech VR equipment with water on the other hand might seem like a foolhardy attempt to bring water parks into the 21st Century but that’s exactly what Galaxy Erding in Germany has done with VRSlide.
The attraction opened a few months ago at the water park with the technology developed by German startup Ballast and VRFocus first brought attention to the idea in an edition of The Virtual Arena back in December. The custom designed headset is completely waterproof (up to several meters) whilst utilizing technology like wireless charging, NFC and a pass-through camera, all weighting in at 393.3 grams.
Powered by an integrated Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone, the custom system uses a dual tracking system that combines ultrasound sensors which establish the rider’s position which accelerometer data that helps confirm their position on the slide. All of which the company claims “eliminates most motion sickness” for an enjoyable VR experience.
The headsets themselves dock in a custom design charging cabinet that wirelessly sends information from that day’s operations to Ballast’s secure servers. This data allows the company to produce pecise analytic reports about rider capacity, content selection and headset performance to optimise the experience.
While a lot of the roller coaster rides which employ VR only offer one type of visual experience, due to the nature of water parks and guests ability to enjoy the same ride over and over again Ballast has developed several pieces of VR content so guest can enjoy a different experience each time. The headset is placed by a staff member on one of three docks which then alters the content.
And because Ballast use the Unity game engine it can easily push through updates or make entirely new content.
VRSlide is part of a much bigger vision at Ballast with the company developing a unique underwater VR attraction that will let guests feel like they are swimming with pods of whales, schools of dolphins and even sharks. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.