Airflow is a new kind of VR ride. Operated completely by bodily movement, riders traverse a mountain range as though they are outfitted with a jetpack. They are treated to views of the sea, and the rising and falling sun on the horizon, while listening to a location responsive multichannel ambient music soundtrack.
Airflow VR is another investment into our commitment toward making VR as immersive and embodying as possible by incorporating 4D elements and removing controllers. Digitally-throttled fans are placed stereoscopically in front of the rider to model their in-flight directional wind speed. We place you into a Hollywood-grade stunt harness and freely suspend you just a foot or two off the ground, imparting the gravity and suspension of freeform flight. Mindride's Interactive Systems Engineer, Nick, composed an all-new ambient music soundtrack for the experience, comprised of 12 multichannel pieces written in each key. Each song is represented abstractly by spheres of sonic emanation, turning the pilot into a 3D crossfader on a giant, mountainous mixing board. In addition, a landing strip's worth of LED track lights provide spectators with feedback as to the rider's speed, direction and input.
The controls for the experience are inspired by reverse engineering the Xsens inertial motion capture tracking suits which we used to drive the skeletons for the Love Has No Labels campaign. We intercepted the network packets, pulled only the information about the body parts we needed out of them, fed it into some machine learning algorithms, and gave ourselves a crash course in Unreal Engine 4 to breathe new life into themes of VR flight that we'd dipped into back in the pre-Oculus Rift days of 2010 in new and exciting ways.