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EuroAmusement Professional 1-2019-Leseprobe

Seite 22 EuroAmusement Professional 1-2019-LeseprobeWaterParks
Gut verpackt: Die Cases von Ballast
verhindern zuverlässig das Eindringen
von Wasser.

reality, travelling and sightseeing in a
virtual Atlantis, being followed by sharks
and gliding through hair-raisingly
dangerous obstacles. The "Splash
VR" product developed by the French
company is now distributed by Polin
Waterparks from Turkey.


Water slides & virtual reality
Water slides are now far more than
just GRP structures with water flowing
down them, and have long had extensive
technology built into them. In addition
to simple lighting effects, interactive
touchpoints, projections and fullscale competition timing systems are
increasingly providing entertainment
and varied fun on the slide, as we have
already described in Part 1 of our article
(see EAP 6/2018). However, technology
doesn`t stand still and the manufacturers
are not only aiming to upgrade old slides
with new features, but also to make their
new giant slides even more spectacular.

Through the tube with glasses
What started at the cinema and
with high-end PC gamers can now
also be found on roller coasters in
the amusement park: virtual reality
applications. There are now more than
a dozen roller coaster rides which have
been enhanced by virtual reality and
offer visitors completely new worlds
well beyond the roller coaster tracks.
In the simplest case passengers put on
VR glasses before boarding and take
their place in the carriage. Then, when
the car begins to move a 360° film is
played in the VR glasses in line with the
course of the roller coaster and creates
dizzying adventures. In a discussion
with industry experts, published as a VR
special in issue 3/2017, EAP discussed
the possibilities of this technology in
detail. Visitors can immerse themselves
in completely new worlds, race through
abandoned mines with characters from
comics and glide virtually through the
air. What has been achieved at EuropaPark with the new Eurosat Coastiality
34 EuroAmusement Professional 1/2019

Part 2

experience is currently one of the best
applications, in that for the first time it
combines the roller coaster ride with a
Roam&Ride concept (see EAP 6/2018).
While in the case of roller coasters it
is comparatively easy to adapt media
content to the ride experience ­ the
speed, ride duration and the exact route
are known ­ the situation is different
when it comes to water slides. Whereas
on the roller coaster the film is always
synchronised with the movements of
the vehicles to make the immersion as
perfect as possible, movement down a
water slide is much more uncontrolled
and speed varies according to posture.
This problem is also present with water
slides that use tubes, even if there are
fewer fluctuations in speed.
An initial version of a VR slide adventure
­ still completely without tracking and
speed measurement ­ was installed
in May 2017 in the slide park of
Aquaparc Le Bouveret (Switzerland).
The system, created by Polymorph
Software from Montgermont (France),
which specialises in virtual worlds,
adds this high-tech feature to the
existing Houla Hoop hybrid slide. The
slide from WhiteWater West (c.p. EAP
3/2015) is a combination of the slide
types Constrictor (large tube diameter,
navigable with round boats) and Rattler
(funnel element, in which the boat
swings back and forth) and, with its
overall length of almost 170 metres, is
the perfect playground for virtual reality.
People slide as a pair, with only one of
them wearing VR glasses. The person
without the VR equipment controls the
ride, while the occupant with glasses
can immerse him or herself into virtual

At Aqualandia Jesolo (Italy) the Scary
Falls freefall tube slide was equipped
with VR for the summer season 2017.
Here, too, the experience relies on the
fact that people spend approximately
the same length of time on the slide,
which is difficult to control while sitting
in the heavy boats anyway. After a fast
downhill stretch, the slide reaches an
intermediate straight section where a
conveyor slowly drags the boat forward
towards an abyss. During the normal
slide process this is accompanied by
laser light effects, but these look much
more spectacular with VR glasses. The
wearer namely seems to be travelling
down the Amazon and heading straight
for a cliff with a waterfall, followed by
an almost free fall down into the depths
What both slides have in common is
that they do completely without tracking
and technically "merely" consist of
a waterproof smartphone in a robust
housing. The glasses are activated by a
single scan at the start, and the film is
started by a sensor at the entrance to
the slide.

Perfect immersion thanks to
position tracking
The feeling of really being in a virtual
world is interrupted by the film in some
places ­ namely when turns in the
slide or slow section don`t match the
actual slide sensation. To overcome this
problem, the resourceful inventors at
Ballast Technologies in San Francisco
have come up with a combination of
position tracking and virtual reality.
Sensors inside the slide register the
position of the wearer and synchronise
with the headset. The animation is then
speeded up or slowed down, depending
on the section of the tube where the
wearer happens to be. This system
was first implemented by Wiegand

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