Geek-Cetera By Aug. 30, 2014 12:29 pm
Oculus Rift combined with real roller coaster is mind blowing | Geek-Cetera | Geek.com

The Oculus Rift is still just a developer kit, so it’s hard to say what it will eventually be used for beyond the obvious gaming applications. Most of what we’ve seen so far is some variation of the wearer remaining stationary while a virtual world moves around them, but German roller coaster manufacturer Mack Rides is working on something different–a roller coaster paired with an Oculus Rift that can display an amazing simulated environment in real time. The best part? You won’t get sick. Well, more sick.

German design professor Thomas Wagner came to Mack Rides with the idea of using an Oculus Rift for coasters back in February of this year, but the partnership is only now being made public. It has taken some work to rig up a laptop inside the coaster to control the simulation, and even more to get the program properly synchronized with the wheels and an inductive sensor. The results, according to those who have been able to take a ride with the Rift, are mind blowing.

Designers use the track’s real topography to design a simulation with whatever setting they like. There’s one set in space with a craft blasting its way through an asteroid field, and another for the same coaster that includes a monster chasing the coaster over the rooftops of a city. The simulations include full 3D spaces that you can scan by turning your head thanks to the Rift’s internal position sensors.

Many people report extreme motion sickness from using the Oculus Rift while sitting still. However, when the simulation is synced up with your actual movements in the coaster, there’s no visual disconnect to throw you off kilter–the environment speeds by just as it would without the visor. It seems that riders suffer no ill-effects from the coaster, even if the track is a little different in the simulation. A coaster equipped with Oculus Rift headsets could even show everyone a different scene while on the same physical ride.

So when can you experience this for yourself? It’ll probably be a while. Mack Rides isn’t talking about any coasters designed for the Rift just yet. There’s still work to do with the hardware and software to get multiple Oculus Rifts working on a single coaster. That would be a lot of computing power to send zipping around the track.

Oculus Rift combined with real roller coaster is mind blowing | Geek-Cetera | Geek.com

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