‘Neurosis’ is a new ride (debuting at FutureFest in London next month) that uses virtual reality technology and ‘mind-reading’ tricks to give each rider a tailored experience.
Designed by Brendan Walker (an academic at two universities and ride consultant for Alton Towers and Thorpe Park), ‘Neurosis’ will see riders don two headsets: one covering their eyes and creating the virtual world of the coaster (an Oculus Rift), and the other on their head – detecting electrical activity (an electroencephalogram).
It is this electrical activity that the ride system will use to judge how intense the experience could be.
At FutureFest this year, 100 volunteers will test the ride system. Walker seems apprehensive of the first test: “Like any unstable system, we may overshoot, we may bounce around horribly.”
“We may find someone who’s timid, that we scare terribly.”
But ultimately, “the ride will be taught to be more effective by the Sunday night than it was on the Saturday morning”.
There has been scepticism that the new technology isn’t as functional as Walker makes out. However, he is persistent that there is a “fairly well established algorithm, based on well published academic research,”. However, the Guardian reports that he admits the science isn’t “clean”.
Despite this, Walker feels the experience will be highly rewarding for those who ride it: “One feature of rides over the past 200 years at fairgrounds and theme parks is that they’re one-size-fits-all,”
“The question is, will rides of the future adapt to their riders individually?”
“That’s a satisfaction you don’t often get in modern rides,”
“I think the idea that you might be able to learn to control and influence the ride, and actually be rewarded for that, I think that will be a unique thing.”