VR Coaster and Sensics today unveiled RideVR, a new all-in-one VR headset built especially for use on high-flying theme park rides.

VR headsets have been in use on rides like roller coasters and drop towers basically since the initial Samsung Gear VR for Note 4 came to market in late 2014. Because consumer-level mobile VR headsets like Gear VR aren’t really built to withstand all-day use by the sweaty theme park-going masses, Sensics and VR Coaster have partnered to build an all-in-one headset that aims to tighten down on some of the pain points of using consumer VR in a high traffic setting.

image courtesy VR Coaster

RideVR’s two-part design is pretty ingenious, accomplishing a few feats at once. As an option, the headset’s display and optics can detach from the head/chin strap and face mask, letting visitors put on the strap first while waiting in line and get a good fit before ever entering VR. This ideally increases the physical throughput of people by getting everyone ready well in advance. Because the headset also includes an inexpensive face mask that’s hypo-allergenic, reusable and machine washable, operators can replace it with a fresh mask whenever your sweaty uncle finishes with it.

Fact: heat kills components and generally sucks. If you’ve ever run a Gear VR for longer than 2 hours, you know you could practically cook an egg on the other side, but the companies promise to minimize overheating in RideVR with improved thermal management. The RideVR battery is also a separate from the processing unit, letting operators charge batteries while keeping the processing unit in use, or alternatively letting them use a power cord and forgoing the battery entirely.

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Lastly, the RideVR headset packs a 2880×1600 resolution display that they say significantly diminishes the ‘screen door effect’. Sensics and VR Coaster are staying mum on further info surrounding the actual guts of the device.

As patent holders for using mobile VR headsets on rides, VR Coaster is one of the most prolific companies offering mobile VR headset-enabled rides to date, with 40 parks worldwide using their tech.

Sensics, a co-founder of Razer’s OSVR initiative which produced the HDK headset, has already released an enterprise-facing PC VR headset using the same ‘split’ design concept described in RideVR, a device intended for room-scale VR experiences.

image courtesy Sensics

Select theme park customers will deploy the RideVR headset in early 2018.

VR Coaster is hosting a booth at the IAAPA 2017 show in Orlando, Florida where more info will be available. Sensics will also be at the CES show in Las Vegas in January 2018.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • DB

    Disney pioneered the two-part approach to HMDs for high throughput attractions with their old DisneyQuest experiences, like Aladdin. In that case, guests tightened a plastic mount on their heads while waiting in line, then pulled the display down from where it was suspended from the ceiling to snap into the mount.

  • Kev

    Seaworld orlando has a VR setup on their tallest coaster The Kraken. I tried it and there were loads of problems caused by the addition of VR. As a huge VR fan (i have a rift and a vive and backed the pimax 8k kickstarter) I was there shortly after they started Kraken VR. I was really disappointed – the line was 4hrs long because only 1 train equipped with the Gear VR. They meticulously cleaned each headset before each ride. The rest of the Kraken was shut down so you had to ride the VR train. It took them as much as 10 minutes between each ride due to all the hassle with the headsets. Once on the ride the GearVR lost it’s centering near the start so the center was about 25 degress to my left. SDE was highly noticable and the headset was moving around on my head. IMHO parks should not use this tech unless it is specifically designed for use that way. Whoever comes up with a good solution for this should do quite well.

    • Name

      I just want to point out that Kraken VR is not done by VR Coaster.

      • Kev

        I did say it was just a plain Gear VR. To add to that it has what looks like a custom headstrap of some sort. I guess my point is VR on a coaster could be an awesome thing and what VR Coaster is trying to do is certainly something that is sorely needed. The way Seaworld has done it at the moment is just not enjoyable.

  • Arnaud Delmotte

    Never tried with a VR headset, but my best experience was the harry potter ride in Universal Studio Japan, which use a mix of real decoration and screen (and 3d glasses).
    It was really immersive (much more than VR experience in akihabara arcade) without the discomfort of a VR headset.

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