Two lads from England have put VR roller coaster sickness to the ultimate test. Edmond O’Driscoll and Jonathan Forder managed to take a ride on the Colossus roller coaster at Thorpe Park with an Oculus Rift headset and laptop concealed in their clothing. What’s the point of that? Simply put, as a proof of concept, it opens up a ton of new ideas for potential commercial uses for ride designs in the future (Ed: it’s also uber-fucking cool!). In the duo’s experiment, they used a 3d model of the roller coaster ride to create a VR version of it. After considerable tweaking, fine tuning and observation, they managed to match the speed and timing of their virtual coaster to that of the real thing. Once this was done, the surroundings and experience can be made to whatever you want. In this case, the lads dropped in a sweet looking space-scape skybox as the backdrop for the ride.
The possibilities though, for a commercial version, could be considerably more extensive. Imagine adding an “end of the line” break in the track, complete with crash barriers and bottomless pit of death; by deviating the virtual ride ever so slightly from reality, that drop would in fact be a perfectly safe descent, no jumping off the tracks involved, the deception though would be seriously scary, with the g-forces acting on you to add vestibular feedback to the already terrifying visual illusion. Taken to the extreme you could simulate the virtual carriages in front of you flying off, decapitated passengers and screams of horror as you and your friends are sprayed with blood (which is really just harmless mist of water added for effect) as you plunge to your grisly demise…
How about putting yourself in the gunner’s seat of a WWII bomber? Dog fighting enemy planes, you could have the grips and triggers of a virtual heavy machine gun in front of each rider, on a pivot point, allowing each ‘player’ to target and shoot the enemy. With the g-forces of the ride and loop-the-loops, it would be a fun and challenging. Upon finishing the ride, players check out their hi-scores on the screens.
Getting on to the ride with a concealed laptop, power supply, Oculus Rift Dev Kit and camera in their clothing must have been an interesting challenge. I certainly wouldn’t attempt to go through airport security with all those electrical items and wires hidden in my clothing, people have been known to catch a bullet with their head for less.
Nevertheless, the pair somehow made it past the ride’s security and once safely on the ride, set the system going. Here is the result: