Future versions of the Nintendo Amusement Park will have the same basic components as the prototype, but they will add some technologies and improvements to make the real-world experience more like the video game. Let's take a look at the key modifications.
The addition of a sliding overhead track allows players to move along one or two axes, giving them greater mobility. Second-generation models will also use stronger bungee cords and add another dimension of movement.
In third-generation models, the overhead track moves along two axes, enabling a player to enjoy three dimensions of movement:
- The suspension system enables the player to jump vertically (one dimension)
- One axis of the track enables side-to-side motion (second dimension)
- The second axis enables movement along the length of the course (third dimension)
In the second- and third-generation versions of the Nintendo Amusement Park, a stagehand will control movement along the overhead track. He will anticipate the movement required to navigate the course and pull the player along. Ultimately, the goal is to eliminate the stagehand and introduce a motorized winch to control players' movements. The motor will wind and unwind stunt wires on a set of spools. Stunt wires will replace the bungee cords because they aren't limited by elastic forces.
A simple motorized winch can't detect and interpret a player's movements, though. That's why the designers want to incorporate a haptic winch to control player's movements. A haptic winch would be controlled by software and move the player automatically. It responds to data supplied by infrared cameras located on the track and from strain sensors mounted on the suspension cables. When a player jumps, the sensors and cameras detect information about his force and direction and feed it to the computer program. This program makes split-second calculations and triggers the motor on the winch, which winds up or spools out the cable accordingly. The result: Players get an appropriately-amplified boost. They can take off from the ground with amazing acceleration, or land as gently as a feather. They can even perform double and triple jumps.
This elaborate maneuvering will be necessary because the future versions of the park's obstacle course will run for hundreds of yards and use foam crash padding, both to create obstacles and to protect players from impact injuries. The future Nintendo Amusement Park will also have mechanical platforms that move up and down. Hydraulic actuators, which can lift and hold heavy objects without brakes, will move the platforms. Pressure feedback systems, like those used in elevator doors, will prevent players from getting crushed if they get trapped between platforms.
In the next section, we'll learn more about physically-augmented reality and other types of reality systems.