British theme park Alton Towers will open “the world’s first” virtual reality roller coaster, shooting riders into space at up to 3.5gs on “a mesmerizing journey through the wonders of space.”
The Galactica attraction is not just a stationary moving platform like we saw at CES with Samsung’s Gear VR roller coaster ride. Instead, Galactica will integrate virtual reality into an existing ride, with passengers lying face down donning a VR headset, experiencing every turn, drop, and acceleration as they would in a rocket launched space ship.
The roughly three-minute thrill ride is set to open in April 2016 and will repurpose the existing track from the park’s popular Air ride.
Although nausea is a concern when it comes to accelerated VR experiences like this, the theme park is working with VR specialists Figment Productions to use what they call a “Vector VR” system to help alleviate unpleasant sensations that may cause nausea. For example, since each passenger is securely strapped in with limited mobility, the company can fine tune the visuals to each individual seat in the cars to counteract motion sickness.
Galactica in numbers:
- Each train will contain 28 passengers, and three trains will be set into motion at one time
- The track length is 840m (2,755ft)
- The height of the biggest drop is 20m (66ft)
- The maximum speed is 75km/h (47mph)
- The ride duration is 189 seconds
- The capacity per hour is 1,500 passengers