Theme parks all over the world are paying close attention to virtual reality technology. Efteling, a major theme park in The Netherlands, has announced their own dedicated VR attraction. This particular experience will be made accessible to the physically impaired who would otherwise not get to enjoy this ride. It is a noble gesture, as the Dreamflight ride has been well received by the public so far.
A Smart Move by Efteling
Due to safety concerns, impaired individuals are unable to board the Dreamflight ride in the Efteling theme park. It is one of only a handful of rides which have such strong safety requirements. One of the theme park’s employees floated the idea of creating a virtual reality version of this ride. This particular individual was granted permission to develop such a VR app, of which the outlines have now been officially unveiled by the theme park’s owners. It is the same ride as regular people would experience, but accessible through a VR headset.
What makes Dreamflight such an attractive ride is how it seemingly stimulates all of our senses. Translating such an experience into virtual reality is not easy. To enjoy this VR experience, the creators developed special hardware to allow wheelchair users to experience, smell, and hear everything as if they were on the actual ride itself. This goes well beyond just donning a VR headset, as Efteling has worked hard to create a lifelike replica of the ride itself.
Moreover, all of the users will wear a headset to stay in touch with other people experiencing Dreamflight like normal. For the time being, this idea is still in the proof-of-concept stage, but here is a plan on the table to go ahead with it.That is, assuming the team can find the proper components to create the ultimate VR experience. Not an easy task, as all of the critical hardware has yet to be created and put together as one cohesive unit.
If everything goes according to plan, the VR Dreamflight project is scheduled to go live in early 2018. No specific date has been communicated so far, but more information will be released in the coming months. It is certainly an interesting approach to accommodate off-limits rides to wheelchair users. Whether or not this venture will be a major success, remains to be seen. However, one has to commend Efteling for at least given the idea a shot.
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