Given expectations of a fourth park being developed by Universal Orlando on the large swath of property they’ve purchased recently, a few recent patents applications by Universal City Studios LLC have sparked speculation on the possibility of Jurassic World rides. This most recent patent requires no such speculation; as it is clearly intended to simulate the experience of walking through a landscape filled with dinosaurs.
Published today, “Virtual Reality Mobile Pod” outlines a system where guests would be in moving vehicles they could control themselves equipped to display a virtual reality environment. The vehicles could be releases singularly, or numerous vehicles could be released at the same time to inhabit a large area.
The patent’s vehicles would provide a frame to enclose the guest, safety harnesses to keep them secure, a VR headset to provide the fantastic displays, and processors to keep the VR running while also relaying positioning information to keep tabs on where the vehicle is in relation to others.
The frames would allow users to walk around a simulated environment without the worry of being bumped or slowed down by barriers. While in operation, physical object could be placed in the real world that have a VR counterpart, allowing guests to interact with them/collide with them. Rather than see other guests wandering around in their own pods, those vehicles could be displayed with a VR counterpart that is consistent with the ride’s theme. A braking/wheel locking system could be included to keep collisions down to a minimum; this system could also come into play as part of the story, leaving a guest immobile for a short segment of time.
To help with the immersion, these mobile pods could include special effects systems such as “a fluid system, a sound system, a vibration system, an air system, etc.”
While these pods could be used for any number of attractions, or even be converted for non-park use, the wording Universal uses strongly suggests a Jurassic Park or World ride. For instance, when describing a bladder system for special effects, the document states, “The utilization of the fluid effects system may provide for a unique experience to the user. For example, the user may feel as if they are literally feeling breath or spit flying from a dinosaur’s mouth.”
Add to that the image of the vehicles during operation pictured at the top of this article, packed with dinosaurs.
Universal does have another property that’s expected to make it’s way into Orlando Parks: Nintendo. This system is fully customizable for different themes, and traditional video games are referenced directly as an option. The application explains,
The disclosed VR attraction system may be implemented with amusement park attractions including shows, rides, games, promotions, and so forth. By employing the VR attraction system in conjunction with particular themes, such as traditional video games, guests are incentivized to visit the amusement park and are further enabled to enjoy the thematic experience provided by the amusement park. Further, because the VR attraction system is flexible, one game arena may be configured to host games having a variety of different themes.
As must always be noted: The existence of an application does not guarantee a patent’s approval, and the existence of an approved patent does not guarantee the technologies use. Given recent documents though, it’s clear to see that industry speculation isn’t far off the mark from what Universal is actively working to add to current and future parks.
Source/Image: United States Patent and Trademark Office