3D motion ride platform AeroRide (r)

Photograph of the platform

JWA Systems developed the control system for the platform. The platform is carried by 4 air-bellows, one at each corner. Forcing air into these bellows will cause the platform to rise, venting air causes it to lower. The platform can be inclined at will by filling and venting of the appropriate bellows by means of Festo(r) pnematic valves. The systems has a pretty fast response, so sharp curves in the animated flight are coupled with rapid movements of the platform. The illusion of motion is so strong, people will quickly grab the supports after the ride has started. They will not release them before the Ride is over...

Together with the bellows, height sensors are fitted at each corner of the platform. They measure the current position of the platform. Based on these measurements, the control systems directs air to the appropriate bellows in order to obtain the desired platform position at that instant. As such, it is a closed loop control system.

A track of motion data runs simultaneously to the animation. These data are sent to the platform control system, which then generates the desired motion of the platform.

To enhance the experience of motion, there is wind generated when the flightspeed in the Ride is high. Large blowers and frequency inverters are employed to this means. The controller steers these blowers along with the motion. The same goes for a vibrator that is mounted under the platform. This viberator gives it a sense of speed, or even better, of expectation. All these elements are shown in the following diagram:
Schematic diagram of the platform electronics

Escher Virtual Reality Ride

Escher is a well-known Dutch graphical artist, famous for his "impossible" objects. Shown here are a few examples. Note the water that runs forever, just like the soldiers who climb the stairs on end.
A rendering of "Waterfall" Close-up of "Ascending and descending"

To celebrate Escher his 100th birthday, the "Kunsthal" in Rotterdam had had a special exibition built. Its main purpose is to show how these seemingly impossible objects could be devised. These objects can be constructed three-dimensionally, although they only look "right" when seen from the correct angle. Here is what it looks like when viewed from another angle. Note that the waterbed is interrupted.
"Waterfall", from a different point of view

What would be nicer than a computer animation, showing a few of his objects as seen from a helicopter. To look at them from all angles, and experiencing that thrilling emotion of an object suddenly falling into place. The Ride is based on a high quality animation, made by Anitime. This animation is projected on a very large screen. Sound was made by The Quality Quartet, and reproduced through a five channel sound system. The overall production was done by FCC-Wennekes Multimedia B.V. But the pneumatic platform carrying the spectators is what makes the set-up a true Ride. The platform closely follows the movements suggested by the animated flight, causing the spectators to experience a true sense of motion. It is no wonder that the Ride became an instant hit.

Pictures are © 1989 Cordon Art - Baarn Holland. All rights reserved. M. C. Escher ® is a registered Trademark of Cordon Art B.V.

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This article was written by Arian van Dorsten jwasys@xs4all.nl
The most recent version can be found on: http://www.xs4all.nl/~jwasys