|A couple wearing virtual reality (VR) goggles view a landscape as if a big wheel actually rotates at Samsung Everland, Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday. The nation's largest theme park has applied VR technologies to its suspended big wheel, enabling visitors to experience what it is like when it is in motion. / Courtesy of Samsung Everland
By Lee Hyo-sik
Samsung Everland has applied virtual reality (VR) technologies to revive its landmark Universe Big Wheel, which stopped operating in August 2010.
It is not that the nation's largest theme park in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, will make the wheel rotate again. But it is to enable visitors wearing VR goggles to view the landscape as if the wheel is actually rotating.
The company will open the ride to the public this Saturday, allowing users to get into four cars that are parked just above the ground. When they step into the cars while wearing the VR goggles, they will feel as if the wheel is rotating, according to company officials.
"We decided to bring the wheel back to life using VR technologies to give good, old memories back to our customers who once rode the ride," a Samsung Everland official said. "The Universe Big Wheel, one of the most popular rides until it was stopped from operating in August 2010, offered memorial experiences to a total of 20 million users for 28 years. Even though we don't actually run the wheel, we can at least let our visitors experience what it was like when going on the ride, with the help of the VR device."
For about three minutes, the users view the landscape as the wheel rotates 360 degrees in virtual reality, he said. "We believe that this will emerge as a must-take-ride, attracting large numbers of visitors. We have and will continue to apply VR and other technologies to our rides to provide unique experiences."
Celebrating the "reopening" of the Universe Big Wheel, Everland began receiving photos and essays, Thursday, from those who reminisced and learned about the ride via Facebook and other social media outlets.
Over the past few years, Everland has been working to become an information technology-oriented theme park to meet the rapidly changing needs of all its customers.
The company installed the VR program on its Thomas Train, a popular ride for families, as well as opening a 4-dimension VR experience hall.