Prof. Thomas Wagner
In February 2014, Prof. Thomas Wagner from the University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern approached the German roller coaster manufacturer Mack Rides with the idea of extending a real roller coaster by wearing an Oculus Rift headset during the ride. They also saw the potential and entered this ground-breaking cooperation project.
More about the VR Coaster project
Mack Rides provided Wagner and his students two full-grown roller coasters at Mack-owned Europa-Park as well as extensive support in developing the required hardware. It quickly showed that this concept actually created a totally new, extremely impressive experience, that even eliminates the usual virtual reality motion sickness (which used to occur due to the lack of real movement in conventional VR applications). Wagner soon came up with the idea of targeting the upcoming generation of mobile VR devices, like the Samsung Gear VR – developing a system that would allow any kind of roller coasters to wirelessly communicate and automatically synchronize with any personal mobile VR devices of the passengers. A precise synchronization is essential in order to prevent motion sickness during the ride.
This mobile approach solves a lot of problems that all previous attempts of combining VR with real roller coasters had been suffering from, such as hygienics, vibration and cable issues as well as hardware maintenance, just to name a view.
Having filed a patent for this unique and innovative concept, Mack Rides and Wagner are now establishing VR Coaster as the exclusive and world-first provider of augmented thrill ride experiences.m After exhibiting this concept at the international IAAPA fair in Orlando, VR Coaster is receiving enormous requests from the worldwide entertainment industry – hinting on a big impact that might change the way people will be experienceing theme parks, funfairs or even basic transportation solutions.