In an effort to foster a more realistic and dynamic rotational ride experience, New World Rides in Florida has developed a “rotational VR ride platform called Roto Loco that provides rotational locomotion, affording 360 degree rotation,” states Nick Suttell, the company’s CEO.
As he puts it, the system “doesn’t need to trick riders into thinking they’re rotating, as it doesn’t use hydraulic activations,” and essentially “affords nearly any rotation in any direction at any time, allowing for a more comfortable experience.”
According to Suttell, “the dual seater system uses stereoscopic 360 degree VR imagery and actually rotates riders upside down. It employs a three-axis gimbal and combines motors and VR.
So far, no riders have become sick from using the system, “because the physical rotations match the virtual rotations, making the ride a much more comfortable experience,” he claims, adding that “riders also feel more comfortable because of their greater control over the rotation.”
Suttell calls attention to the system’s use of hand and finger tracking and its high fidelity, affording the highest level of presence. The system allows riders to “interact with digital objects that rotate the ship and to view their partners’ avatar.”
One of the key advantages of the system is its flexibility and mobility. Suttell stresses that it offers a short duration experience in a relatively small area of 20x20sq.ft and accommodates a maximum weight of 325 pounds for each rider. In Suttell’s view, this makes the system appealing to small amusement centre operators as well as theme parks. He emphasises the system was built from the ground up for virtual reality.
The first experience developed for the system is a space fantasy experience called Shuttle 39, which challenges two riders to mine asteroids and collect artifacts while escaping dangerous obstacles around the asteroid, Suttell explains. One rider serves as the pilot of a ship and has control over rotating the ship, thus navigating it. The other rider acts as a “collector, shooting at artifacts in order to collect as many as possible.
As Suttell points out, players must communicate closely with each other in order to accomplish the mission. This highlights the social nature of the experience and the Roto Loco system, he says.