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Technology - A trip on a roller coaster with virtual reality

Bogotá has an attraction that combines adrenaline with technology. Creation is 'made in Colombia' 
Quantum, new attraction of the Mundo Aventura park.

Location and movement sensors, proximity cards and 3D video with a feeling of vertigo , is the technology that surrounds Quantum, a roller coaster with virtual reality developed by Colombians. 

The idea of ​​the attraction, located in the Mundo Aventura park, is to transfer the attendees to a space station. The mission: to save the human race. Once the user puts on the virtual reality glasses he is transferred to an interstellar war, in the best style of the Star Wars movies.

The colors, the characters, the sounds and, above all, the exact synchronization of the virtual movements with the real ones, allow us to live an intense and immersive experience

The development of this technology was in charge of a Colombian consortium, made up of graphic designers, creative audiovisual producers and systems engineers. Iván Rodríguez, project engineering director, explained to EL TIEMPO the challenges they faced in making Quantum a reality. 

"The particularity of the roller coaster is that its wagons do not have a constant movement throughout the attraction. Given this problem, we had to raise plans and perform tests to compensate and synchronize the times with the virtual world, "explained Rodriguez.

The experts modeled characters, objects, spaceships and planets to give life to virtual history . The director of engineering detailed that computer programs such as 3DMax and Maya were used. Then, to group the graphics, they used a platform called Unreal Engine 4, which is responsible for transforming the concept into a video game.

The correct operation of the attraction is in charge of eight people. It is already available to the public.

"This is a video game in real time. It is not a virtual reality experience alone. People can experience falls and pure adrenaline. In the end, we managed to build a new language that allowed us to give life to an integral product, "Rodríguez said.

Mix of sensations

Of course. We tried it And indeed, attraction transmits sensations of intense emptiness, as the user 'travels' precipices and spatial abysses . 

"Vertigo is the strongest effect one can feel on the roller coaster. There is imbalance in the ups and downs, which generate a mixture of tranquility, but also of debauchery. It is important that a person who is not used to these sensations be very careful, "said Yesid Aguilar, assistant to the inaugural event of the Quantum attraction. 

However, the experience is short. With a minute and a half of tour, the assistants possibly wanted more emotion . In addition, wagons are very narrow for tall people.

"We use an industrial and non-commercial viewer. The cars have acceleration sensors, optical and infrared that are responsible for measuring the weight and thus determine the speed. All this information is collected in a microcontroller and sent wirelessly to the viewer, "explained Ivan Rodriguez.

The roller coaster rises to 15 meters in height, reaches 34 km / h and can mobilize up to 400 people in an hour.

The project

Quantum is operated by eight people, who are responsible for installing the visors to visitors, security and, in general, the correct operation of the operation. 

Juan Carlos Rosas, deputy director of marketing at the Mundo Aventura park, explained that the creation of the project took approximately a year and a half. 

"At this moment, virtual reality is a global trend and we wanted to innovate to keep showing us fresh, so that both adults and small children visit us. Virtual reality gives the opportunity to tell stories in different ways, "said Rosas. 

The investment of the project, according to the deputy director of marketing of the park, was 2,200 million pesos, money that they plan to recover in two or three years .

"We divided the project into two phases. On the one hand we develop the content and virtual reality part, and on the other hand we design the infrastructure. We hired two companies, Artefacto Comunicación and Uno Uno 11, "the executive said. 

The attraction is already open to the public and allows mobilizing up to 400 people in one hour. The roller coaster is 15 meters high and the average speed is 34 kilometers per hour . 

"For us it was a challenge as an independent company. We want this technology to become a success story and, why not, to think about replicating it in other parts of the region and the rest of the world, "concluded Iván Rodríguez. 

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