Virtual reality (VR) offers users an immersive way to experience exciting things in a way that feels almost as real as being there. Visiting exotic destinations, to flying through space, and riding rollercoasters are just a few of the things you can do through VR. But now, you can immerse yourself in a VR world – while on an actual, real-life rollercoaster.
The Rage of the Gargoyles ride at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, starts off like any rollercoaster; the rider gets into the floorless ride and straps into a harness. That's where things get interesting. Each rider is given a Samsung Gear VR headset equipped with a Galaxy S7 smartphone. From the start of the ride, guests use their VR headsets to look at a seat-specific QR code, which identifies their seating assignment and calibrates the headset to make sure that they have the correct starting position for their individual point on the rollercoaster. As the ride progresses through the real world, the player progresses through the virtual world with synchronized movement. In the virtual world, players must shoot down as many gargoyles as possible, which is done simply by looking at them, to achieve the highest score. After the ride, scores are available for players to compare. The Gear VR units have been modified for use in the rollercoaster to allow them to be better secured to the rider and more comfortable. Each headset includes a neck strap, chin strap, and a dial to adjust tightness. Wearing the headset is not required to ride the rollercoaster, so those who are not ready for the VR experience can still ride it in the traditional (though perhaps less exciting) manner, but the cost of riding the rollercoaster is the same with or without the headset.
The Gear VR is not a standalone VR headset in itself, but rather serves as a holder for a Galaxy smartphone, which does most of the work. Unlike other headsets that work with smartphones, however, the Gear VR is not just a holder; it does include sensors of its own to enhance the experience by increasing the accuracy of the head-tracking functionality. For those who already own Galaxy smartphones, it is a very affordable alternative to high-end VR headsets like the Oculus Rift. Smartphone-based VR solutions like Gear VR have proven to have some notable advantages over other forms of VR, primarily in terms of mobility. They don't require users to be tied to a PC or game console, so they can be taken anywhere. This makes Gear VR the perfect choice for use with rollercoasters, providing an immersive experience that can move with the viewer. To check out a video of the rollercoaster in action, head over to CNET via the source link below.