Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Total Immersion makes an impact

Augmented reality turns spectators into performers

Multimedia attractions are big news at the moment, and it would seem a safe bet to say that the “augmented reality” technology pioneered by the French company Total Immersion is poised to make a big impact and parks and attractions over the next few years.

The firm is blurring the line between the virtual world and the real world by integrating real-time interactive 3D graphics into a live video stream. By doing so, passive park guests become active performers, enabling them to interact with brands and characters in their own environment.

The first use of augmented reality in a theme park came last April at Futuroscope in France, where passengers on the ride Les Animaux du Futur wore goggles to view a real set come alive with added animated futuristic animals.

At Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey and Six Flags Great America near Chicago augmented reality turned an uneventful queue line into a mini attraction in itself. Visitors to the Dark Knight coaster can now witness their transformation into the Joker’s henchmen thanks to ClownVision, a special implementation of Total Immersion’s D’Fusion technology.

For the Paris (October 2007) and Warsaw (January 2008) launches of the last book in the Harry Potter series, Total Immersion created a magic mirror application using the book’s “Sorting Hat” scene. Looking into the video screen of the magic mirror, each visitor saw the Sorting Hat moving on their own head.

At the Arizona Science Center, youngsters and adults alike are challenged to solve a Rubik’s cube-like “Augmented Reality Puzzle.” Guests are given three cards, each corresponding to a 3D puzzle piece. Rotating these cards reveals videos on all sides of a computer-generated video cube. When arranged in the correct order, players are rewarded with a full-screen view of the video and a virtual fireworks finale.

And now Total Immersion has partnered with Mack Rides to offer Hidden Reality, an augmented reality dark ride.

ABOVE: Total Immersion brightens up the queue line at Six Flags. 

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