Incorporating VR Technology into Waterslide Ride Is Breakthrough for Waterpark Industry
Park guests can now experience a trip through the lost city of Atlantis on the first waterslide in history to incorporate virtual-reality simulation into the journey.
Traveling down a waterslide has always been a unique adventure for guests. The path may be the same each time, but the adrenaline rush can change based on factors such as the person’s state of mind, weather, the sun’s angle, the water temperature, body weight and even the rider’s swimwear.
Now, however, waterslide riders can experience a unique and wholly different excitement, entering diverse, one-of-a-kind worlds as they shoot through a slide’s bends and curves. The new twist is based on the genius collaboration between Polin Waterparks (Kocaeli, Turkey) and Polymorph Software (Montgermont, France). The two firms’ R&D departments partnered to create an innovative first for the waterpark industry with the development of “Splash VR”, the first technology solution that deploys a virtual-reality experience for waterpark guests without impacting the structure of existing waterslides.
An elaborate effort of teamwork
Ali Cansun, Polin’s Research and Development Director, says the ambitious project took more than eight months of partnership and invention. “The technology is structured around important innovations such as ‘user-tracking’ solutions,” he explains. “This technology means we can install it on a wide variety of many slides. Rather than needing to build all-new slides, we integrate computer and electronic elements to existing slides. This technology then interacts with helmets that riders wear.”
The first park in the world to add the technology to an existing slide is “The Land of Legends” in Antalya, Turkey. This world-class facility features a long and varied list of attractions — from a five-star hotel to a dolphinarium and a wildlife park. But the facility’s Legends of Aqua waterpark is its star, covering 280,000 square meters (3,013,895 square feet) and offering 72 waterslides plus many additional aquatic attractions. Polin Waterparks provided the wide assortment of slides, as well as wave and river systems, a SurfStream® (one of the largest in the world) and a Wave Ball (the first in Turkey). The resort even offers a ladies-only area and an especially large children’s water zone with water playground and spray zone.
Now, Polin Waterparks has upgraded one of this world-renowned facility’s Family Rafting Slides with the Splash VR technology, further enhancing the US$1 billion facility’s five-star reputation.
Ahmet Çolakoğlu, Design Director for Rixos World Parks & Entertainment (Serik, Turkey), the park’s developer, says it was important for Land of Legends to become the first in the world to install the Splash VR technology. “We take our status of being a world-class facility very seriously. We want to give guests the very best experience possible,” he says. “Being the first means our guests know that they are our first priority — that they count on us to always keep them entertained. So we are excited to provide this new attraction and glad to be partnering again with Polin Waterparks.”
Sliding Deep Into a Lost World
When guests in Land of Legends’ rafts wore their VR headwear and begin their waterslide journey, they will experience a journey though the Lost City of Atlantis. Based on a radio-wave system, the headsets know exactly where users are located on the slide and their views change based on a triangulation of electromagnetic-radiation wavelengths.
The Lost City of Atlantis has been an object of fascination since Plato mentioned it nearly 2,400 years ago. The great philosopher described a powerful and advanced kingdom that sank into the ocean, within the span of a night and day, around 9600 B.C. Ancient Greeks were divided whether the story was true or simply a metaphor. But during the 19th century, people’s renewed interest in the story began linking it to actual historical locations, such as the Greek island of Santorini, which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption around 1600 B.C.
In Polin’s version of the myth, riders are immersed in an unprecedented adventure as they begin a journey of discovery while searching for the lost metropolis. The legend becomes reality as the virtual explorers make their way into the city and then explore its sights before sliding back into the real world.
A First-of-Its-Kind Innovation for Waterparks
Guichard Fabrice, Director of Polymorph, says the design and production of the first waterproof virtual-reality helmets became possible due to advancements in 3D technology. “The first helmets were designed and printed in 3D, to be tested and improved easily. They integrate all the computer and electronic elements that allow the helmet to play a real, 360-degree video, calculated in real time based on the rider’s location in the slide.” Now our R&D teams finalize the new version of the helmet that will be produced industrially. He says the team focused exceptional effort in making sure the headwear was comfortable and ergonomic and provided an exceptional immersive experience.
“The development of a 360-degree video player with the ability to synchronize both the speed of the video with the guest’s position in the slide? It’s a phenomenal idea!” he adds. “Guests’ experiences in riding waterslides are changed forever with this extraordinary, advanced technology.”
Polin Waterparks introduced the new offerings at IAAPA’s annual conference last fall. At Polin’s booth, visitors could wear Google Cardboard Goggles and take virtual test rides on its Space Race and Storm Racer waterslides. With the introduction of the Atlantis immersive experience, however, guests on actual waterslides can now imagine being in completely different worlds. The Atlantis video is only the beginning of the adventures awaiting guests. Parks will have the opportunity to allow riders to choose different adventures — new concepts and films — every time they shoot down a tube.
That’s because the VR technology provides:
• A full 360-degree experience of varying scenarios throughout each ride
• A user-friendly interface that allows guests to select desired interactions
• A synchronized VR display that can begin the ride displaying “real-life” images and then transition to a completely animated experience
• Unlimited scenario options including falling from a waterfall; traveling through dinosaur eras, space or other futuristic times; horror-action experiences; and licensed-character themes for kids.
Throughout the ride, guests are ensured a safe experience from the high-tech design of IP68-certified waterproof and dust-protection wireless VR glasses.
“Guests at IAAPA loved the experience of getting a virtual ride on our slides,” Cansun says. “Now parks anywhere will be able to offer this breakthrough technology to their guests. The waterslide experience will never be the same. This is a game-changer for the waterpark industry, no doubt about it.”
More of Polymorph Software
Polymorph Software is recognized worldwide for designing and developing innovative software in the fields of simulation, training and communication. Its technical expertise is derived from the world of video games, graphic creativity, mastery of real-time 3D tools, and experience in design and ergonomics.
For additional information, contact Fabrice Guichard at +email@example.com. Please visit Polymorph at http://polymorph.fr .
More on The Land of Legends Theme Park
Rixos World Parks & Entertainment bears the signatures of Rixos Hotels, with its unique understanding of hospitality, and Dragone Productions, an outstanding creator in the show business. Rixos World Parks & Entertainment, pioneering a new concept for multi-sensory experiences, opened The Land of Legends Theme Park in Antalya on July 1, 2016 as the first project of this new concept. The Land of Legends Theme Park has been designed as a unique and fascinating destination of entertainment, combining luxurious lifestyle and spectacular architecture with the experience of one of the world's biggest real estate development companies, Emaar Properties PJSC, responsible for the shopping centre management, topped by the creativity of Franco Dragone, known as a genius in the entertainment business.
For additional information please visit http://www.rixosworld.com
More on Polin Waterparks
Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976 and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is a world leader in the design, production and installation of waterparks, waterslides &and water-play attractions. Polin has completed 3,000 waterpark projects in 103 countries around the world and is the biggest waterslide supplier in Eurasia. Working with a wide variety of clients has helped Polin reach several milestones including installing the first waterparks in many countries and many other award-winning rides at parks with world-renowned reputations.
For more info, visit www.polin.com.tr or contact Sohret Pakis at +90 262 656 64 67 or firstname.lastname@example.org.