Six Flags reinvents older roller coaster with new VR technology

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Web producer Joe Millitzer and I both like technology; so when we heard Six Flags St. Louis claim their virtual reality headsets would lead to a new roller coaster revolution, we had to try them on for ourselves.

“They’ve got looping coasters and spinning coasters, and now you have a coaster that you’re riding in in virtual reality with the Samsung headgear…you are in a different world. I mean, it’s really changed everything,” said Tim Baldwin, editor of Roller Coaster! magazine.

Forget what you know of The Ninja, because once your VR sets are sized to your noggin, you’re virtually entering a video game.

“Essentially, what we do is take specialized sensors in the headset that track your head orientation and whichever way you look feeds that into the phone to update the display,” said Tom Harding, director of Immersive Products and Virtual Reality for Samsung. “So if you look left, the screen updates and you see virtually what you might see if you were somewhere else.”

“So as you’re diving down the big drop or going through a 360-degree loop, you will actually see that very same motion in this virtual reality world, where you’re shooting aliens and basically saving the world from an alien invasion,” said Peter Carmichael, Six Flags St. Louis park president.

The motion is precise—down to the millisecond—and immersive. Touching the side of the VR headset, you can shoot targets in your two-minute journey. And though Tuesday was the launch for the old ride, the possibilities and the places your roller coaster can take you are endless.

“It’s like, okay we’re doing it on Ninja this year, we’ll do it on Batman next year,” Baldwin said. “They can just move the headgear over there and have the program redesigned. There’s really no limit to how creative they want to get with it.”

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