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In February 2014, I approached the german roller coaster manufacturer Mack Rides with the idea of extending a real roller coaster by wearing an Oculus Rift headset during the ride. I was wondering if it would be possible to replace the real environment by a synchronized virtual ride.
At Mack Rides, they also saw the potential and entered this ground-breaking cooperation project with me and my students, providing us two roller coasters for research and testing (Blue Fire and Pegasus in Europa-Park).
Then, on April 7th, we performed our first Oculus Rift VR-rides on a real roller coaster, synchronized to the real track. And it was just unbelievable!
Over the following weeks and months, we have been performing more than a hundred test rides and have been making some amazing discoveries.
While working out technical solutions and patent matters, we weren't able to go public any earlier.
Of course, we had a hard time watching the first videos of people riding coasters with an Oculus Rift surfacing on the web - while we had already been performing dozens and dozens of such rides.
But, knowing that with Mack Rides we're having a major industry partner on our side, we were always confident that their amazing support would still make for a great and successful publication of this project, even if it would take some time.
And now we're happy that it's finally time to disclose our adventure to the rest of the world!
Visit vr-coaster.com to find out more about the project and our discoveries!