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EAS 2016 From the Floor - November 2016

Highlights from the EAS 2016 Trade Show Floor

Europa-Park to Build Largest Flying Theater in Europe

During a press conference at EAS 2016, Germany’s Europa-Park announced it will add a flying theater to its slate of rides next year. Created in collaboration with Brogent Technologies and Kraftwerk Living Technologies, the new ride will be the largest of its kind in Europe and is dubbed “Project V” until the final name is unveiled at opening. Mack Media will produce the film seen during the 4.5-minute flight, and concept and design will be the responsibility of Mack Solutions. The ride will feature a 21-meter screen with seven gondolas in two theaters, with a total capacity of 1,400 people per hour. The ride is slated to open in May 2017.

“Project V” is the largest investment Europa-Park has made in a single attraction. It will be located at the entrance to the park and carry a German theme.

The company also announced a new arena and logistics center to open next year. The arena will host nightlife and entertainment, and help the city manage noise.


Barco Acquires Medialon

Barco, creator of digital A/V systems, has acquired Medialon, a U.S.-based company that creates system control technology. As producers of A/V equipment like projectors and LED screens, Barco saw the opportunity to graft together the two companies to save attractions time and money. Barco equipment can now be controlled via an attraction’s internal network through a smartphone thanks to Medialon’s show controls. This allows staff to control and monitor equipment without being in the same vicinity. “It’s a good fit, from a technology perspective, with our product,” said Peter Pauwels, director, strategic marketing for Barco.

The company also showed the Barco F90 and F50 projectors at EAS. The F90 features 4K resolution and ultra-saturated colors, and the F50 was fitted with a short lens to show its compact and robust power.


City Splash Tours Unveils New Amphibious Vehicle

As the original WWII-era military vehicles used by many amphibious tour operators have begun to age, City Splash Tours saw the opportunity to create a new breed of vehicle from scratch. The company operates a land/water tour in Dublin, Ireland, and found it increasingly challenging to repair and replace parts of its amphibious vehicles. For the past four years, it has toiled to create a vehicle that replicates the experiences provided by the old boats while meeting modern safety requirements. At EAS, City Splash premiered the Salamander, an amphibious vehicle designed using an MAN truck chassis and drive train, similar to those found in trucks. The vehicle maintains some of the classic features of the old boats and can hold 36 passengers, plus two crew. It is suitable for all water conditions and waves up to 1.2 meters high. The body is also customizable and designed so the vessel remains afloat in fully flooded conditions.



Garmendale Debuts New Sleigh Vehicle for Santa Park

Santa Park Arctic World in Finland called on Garmendale to update the vehicles of its popular “Magic Sleigh Ride” dark ride, without impacting the existing experience. The result is Garmendale’s QuadTrack, a two-bench dark ride vehicle, themed to look like a real wooden sled. The ride will consist of six cars on 150 meters of track that travel through an enchanted Christmas wonderland. The vehicle is all electric and features lapbars for all riders. For easy maintenance, the vehicle’s control panel is easily accessible on the rear of the car, rather than below the chassis.

The driving factor for redesigning the vehicles was to update a nearly 20-year-old ride and provide an authentic experience. The new vehicles feature a custom-made body that looks and feels like the real wood of a sleigh.

The ride was entirely manufactured in the United Kingdom and completed in six months, with installation due four weeks after EAS.


Give Kids The World Receives Donation

Fernando Aldecoa Jr., a 16-year-old international student who enrolled in a summer internship at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, donated his full summer earnings to Give Kids The World at EAS 2016. Touched by his action, Blackpool Pleasure Beach Managing Director Amanda Thompson, OBE contributed to the donation. Pamela Landwirth, president and CEO of GKTW, accepted the donation of 1072.22 euros on behalf of the charity.

Maurer Showcases Spike Racing Coaster

Maurer puts the riders in charge of their coaster experience with the Spike Racing coaster. Designed to replicate the experience of riding a motorbike, the rider controls the speed, acceleration, and throttle of the ride vehicle by twisting its handlebars. The ride vehicle is mounted on a patented tooth system that allows the electromotive driving force to transfer to the rail with 100 percent traction. The toothed rack, over which the vehicle travels, is flexible to conform to the twists of the track, increasing design freedom.

The coaster can be customized as a wing vehicle as well as for four riders. The vehicle itself features a low seat position and a new style of safety belt that anchors the rider while replicating the freedom of a motorbike ride. It also has customizable sound system that plays the sounds of different styles of motorcycles, real (like a Harley-Davidson) or fictional (like a space fighter). The system responds to acceleration, revving as the rider does.

The ride can be gamified, as well—it can be programmed to rack up points depending on how well riders manage their speed, or race other vehicles. A dash-mounted video camera also captures all the action and feeds it to an app, so guests can enjoy the experience long after they’ve left the park.


Miniport World’s Off-Roading Vehicle Offers Authentic Experience

Miniport World’s Mini Safari World provides realistic off-roading vehicles for the 4-10 age group. Built to look and operate like a LandRover, these all-terrain vehicles are battery-powered and give children control of the steering, brakes, and acceleration. “What we really focus on is creating high-end vehicles for the commercial market,” said Oliver Lintott of Miniport World. The company focuses on family entetainment centers and smaller attractions. Cars are expected to last at least 10 years with minimum maintenance. Operators can adjust speed and braking under the hood, and there’s also a remote control brake so parents can follow along and stop kid drivers when need be. The cars can be colored and branded to taste, and the body can also be made into any type of car.


A Different Take on Selfies from Panora.me

When you see a selfie, how often do you actually see what’s in the background? Panora.me has a solution for attractions looking to maximize their social media presences through the omnipresent selfie. The product is a mobile app synced with photo devices placed 50, 100, and 200 meters from the selfie taker’s location. Guests use phones loaded with the app from specific locations and trigger the distant cameras. The final result is a selfie with a video that zooms out from the original location. This gives attractions the chance to show off their entire area, rather than just the background of the selfie—potentially increasing brand recognition on social media.

The videos produced by the app are trackable, so attractions can see how often a video is viewed and analyze that data.

Why a selfie rather than a stationary camera for this product? The company discovered it isn’t natural for people to take a picture without a camera to focus on. The smartphone-and-selfie-stance is familiar and more natural for participants.


XtraIce Projection System Makes Skating a Game

XtraIce is known as the creator of synthetic ice-skating rinks. Now, the company has expanded to include a system of projectors and motion-sensing cameras that make skating and other ice-based activities a game. At EAS, the company showcased two examples of this technology in use. One was an ice skating rink onto which a game called “Food Samurai” was projected. The object of the game was to slice through as many projections of food as possible in a given time. Motion-sensing cameras triggered the image of the food slicing apart as the ice skate cut through them.

The other application on display was a curling lane. XtraIce has offered curling lanes with decals embedded into the ice to designate the goal. Now, the goal is projected onto the ice and reacts as the stone slides across. This installation doesn’t take up very much space and the company has seen a favorable response. The system can be customized with logos and other branded images, as well.


OptiMusic Plays with Light

OptiMusic specializes in blending sensor driven technology with sounds and lights for a completely sensory experience in its OptiBeam product. Light from installations above reflect off stickers on the ground. When something (a body part or prop) interrupts the beam created between the light and the sticker, music or sound is triggered. The music or sound speeds up based on the speed of the interrupting object. The technology has been used to create a range of interactive experiences at museums and science centers. It allows users to play virtual DJ, when programmed with different song samples, or interact in a countdown game. OptiBeam can be a permanent or mobile installation and content can be updated in house.