World's First Virtual Reality Water Slide Opens In Germany

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VR slide at Germany’s Galaxy Erding (Photo Credit: BallastVR.com)

Virtual reality (VR)-enhanced roller coasters that keep fans at the edge of their seats are not a new concept. Visitors aboard the Superman: Ride of Steel coaster at Six Flags in Maryland have been immersing themselves in the superhero’s world since 2016, while those aboard Cedar Point, Ohio’s suspended Iron Dragon ride have been dodging ogres and orcs since 2017. But given that water does not bode well for the sensitive VR electronics, the experience has been harder to offer for water slides. That, however, changed recently with the opening of the Space Glider, the world’s first VR water slide.

Located at Europe’s biggest water park, the Galaxy Erding in South Germany, the ride takes the exciting experience to a whole new level by offering thrill-seekers the choice of three fascinating worlds – Space, Sky, or Snow. By simply strapping on a headset, riders can glide through a magical alien world, follow beautiful butterflies around floating islands, or immerse themselves in a white winter wonderland. To make the experience even more heart-stopping, the 160-meter (520-ft)-long ride that lasts about 35 seconds has two uphill tracks that provide a roller coaster-like journey.

Magical virtual alien world (Photo Credit: BallastVR.com)

While the tire slide, which has been successfully tested by almost 10,000 park goers since it opened in February 2018, is impressive, the technology behind it, developed by California startup Ballast, is even more so. The specially-created waterproof headsets can be submerged without harming the delicate Samsung Galaxy S8 mobile devices, which run the custom software for the VR experiences. The headsets also charge wirelessly, allowing park operators to seamlessly swap out sets throughout the day.

Strategically placed smart sensors relay real-time information about water slider’s speed (Photo Credit: BallastVR.com)

The biggest challenge the company faced, however, was providing an optimal VR experience for everyone. That’s because unlike roller coasters, where the speed is fixed for all riders, water slide speeds vary depending on the weight of the person. To overcome the issue, Ballast installed smart sensors in strategic areas along the slide to keep track of the rider’s progress at all times. The information, conveyed via the headset, allows the custom software to adjust his/her location within the virtual world accordingly, making for a smooth, motion-sickness free ride for all.

Ballast is working on a developing a virtual reality swimming pool where headsets are not required (Photo Credit: BallastVR.com)

Though Ballast is thrilled at Space Glider’s success, the company has bigger aspirations. They want to create an experience where guests will be able to swim underwater amid pods of virtual dolphins, whales, and even sharks – without having to wear the clunky headsets!

Resources: Theverge.com, ballastvr.com, roadtovr.com,vrscout.com

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1507 Comments
  • bunnie_kitty
    bunnie_kittySaturday, September 12, 2020 at 8:33 am
    I wanna go and try it like so much and a gazillion times
    • instagram22
      instagram22Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm
      i want to go
      • laynebot5
        laynebot5Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 10:56 am
        Yay!
        • sg123
          sg123Friday, June 26, 2020 at 9:52 am
          I wish i could do that ride!
          • sg123
            sg123Friday, June 26, 2020 at 9:52 am
            Wow!
            • ginnyweasly1
              ginnyweasly1Friday, May 22, 2020 at 5:51 pm
              That would be really scary! 🙂
              • spykitten
                spykittenFriday, May 22, 2020 at 12:43 pm
                Electronics... and water. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea?
                • spykitten
                  spykittenFriday, May 22, 2020 at 12:43 pm
                  Oh well. This is from two years ago anyway.
                • pimocuro-156960913828
                  pimocuro-156960913828Monday, May 11, 2020 at 11:00 am
                  I like this
                  • animereina2020
                    animereina2020Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 7:32 pm
                    What if you fall off the float without noticing? It might be a thriller, since you don't know where you are going. Also, it will seem like you are in some cool weird wacky world. Cool❤
                    • natzu
                      natzuMonday, April 27, 2020 at 10:09 am
                      its so so cool