Chances are if you’ve donned a VR headset over the past couple of years you’ve probably had some kind of rollercoaster demo experience. Convincing aren’t they? Weren’t you glad you were sitting down? Well it was about time someone upped the ante and Alton Towers has done just that with its newly announced space themed virtual reality rollercoaster, Galactica. While there has been plenty of simulated coaster experiences, this one manages a world’s first with the fact that the full experience takes place with a headset on whilst actually hurtling along 2760ft of very real metal track.
Helpfully, Alton Towers already has the perfect roller coaster in place. Air is a flying coaster which has riders in a horizontal position as they take in the virtual sights. Currently the coaster doesn’t have a launch section but going by the below image it looks like we’ll be hurtled into space while wearing the headset. The official site says that riders will be “propelled through the Launch Portal before embarking on their exploration in the wonders of space.” Yes, that’s going to be just as much of a headfuck as it sounds.
Riders will experience forces up to 3.5Gs (more than NASA astronauts being blasted into actual space) during the experience so just imagine that paired with some extreme VR tech. And we thought Kitchen was bad.
Each rider will wear an individual headset for the duration of the ride which works in tandem with the physical movement of the roller coaster. These are described as ‘specialist’ headsets so I imagine they’ve been built with durability in mind. 1500 passengers an hour is the ultimate stress test for VR. If you don’t like the idea of potential nausea – let’s face it, it’s going to make some people feel very, very sick – then you can ride the whole thing without the headset. But where’s the fun in that…?
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