Korean developers combine robotics and virtual reality to advance VR entertainment
Korean developers are combining robotics and virtual reality.
Among their creations is a new amusement park ride.
Lee Ji-won shows us how its taking the country's VR entertainment industry to the next level.
This amusement park is home to a very special ride.
People put on a pair of virtual reality goggles, hop onto the robot... and they're off on an adventure.
It's Korea's first ride to ever combine virtual reality and robotics. "It was like the movie 'Transformers' The 360-degree rotation was really fun." "While other attractions are just fun, this one felt like I actually became the robot. It felt so real."
As the world becomes more engaged with the fourth industrial revolution, virtual reality and robotics have been developing at a rapid pace. But to optimize the technologies, the interface between the two is crucial. "The robots used in these rides are industrial robots that are programmed to move only in straight lines. To enable the designers to move the robots freely, in sync with the graphics, a special program was developed."
The programmers developed a plug-in to add specific features to the graphic program the designers use.
The plug-in allows designers to run a simulation of how the robots will move, without having to learn the programming language anew,... so they can make decisions about when the robot will move and how much.
Next, the data on the simulation is passed on to the engineering team,... which translates it into actual robot movements -- a process as simple as copying the numbers from the plug-in and transferring them to the robot. "Thanks to the simulation program, we don't have to physically try everything out. But sometimes there are things we can't know, like restrictions in the environment, so in that case, the engineers come in to adjust small details."
After the adjustments are complete,... the ride is ready to go and it's moved to its final destination. "Our 'space team' works on installing the ride in the target environment. They map out the area and compare it to the robot's movements so the robot has all the room it needs to move around."
Developers plan to further enhance the ride by adding features that allow riders to control certain movements.
They plan to keep the ride fresh for visitors by changing the virtual reality content to match seasonal events, including Halloween and Christmas.