Samsung and Six Flags team up to bring VR to thrill-seekers

Thrill-seekers rejoice, Samsung and Six Flags have teamed up to bring virtual reality experiences to rollercoasters!

Using Samsung Gear VR headsets, riders can immerse themselves in an intense battle between Superman and Lex Luthor or face off against a horde of alien invaders from the cockpit of a fighter jet. You won’t have to worry about the Gear VR being torn off during use as Samsung has equipped each one with an extra chin strap for safety and Six Flags’ senior VP of marketing Brett Petit told Mashable that Gear VR has been tested “at 5.9G’s and there’s no problem”.

The technology underpinning the VR experience isn’t as simple as first thought either, as video has to match up exactly with the forces riders are feeling from the coaster. If you’re being thrown around, whilst your eyes are telling you something else is happening, motion sickness will hit – and nobody want’s to deal with that mess after a rollercoaster ride. To get around that problem, each Gear VR talks to a black box installed within the rollercoaster carriage to keep it running in sync.

“It’s actually a positional device that knows exactly where the train is on the track any time throughout the ride,” Six Flags corporate director of design Sam Rhodes told Mashable. “It sends that information via Bluetooth to the Gear headset, and all of the experience of the virtual world is in the headset.”

Don’t worry if you can’t make it out to the US to give VR rollercoaster fun a go, Merlin Entertainments has you covered with VR experiences coming to both Thorpe Park and Alton Towers.

Thorpe Park is working with illusionist Derren Brown to craft an immersive ghost train-like experience that uses VR for Spring 2016, with Alton Towers building a new rollercoaster equipped with bespoke VR headsets.

Let’s just hope that future VR rollercoaster experiences aren’t anywhere near as terrifying as this one seems to be…

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