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Universal files patent that would reduce motion sickness on rides

Universal has filed a patent for technology that would reduce motion sickness, also known as kinetosis, after riding attractions that use screens.

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Universal’s patent, titled ‘Ride Vehicles Restraint System with Forced Air System’, details a ride restraint that can blow air towards the face and body of the rider in different directions.

Universal attractions such as the Simpsons Ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man merge immersive screens and elements with movement, sometimes resulting in motion sickness.

“It is common for ride vehicles and amusement park-style attractions to include other features that enhance the ride vehicle experience for passengers,” the patent notes.

Universal patent details ‘forced air system’

universal motion sickness patent

“Further, it will be appreciated that passengers enjoying the ride vehicle experience may respond differently to motion of the ride vehicle as it travels along the ride path.”

“Indeed, in some instances, a passenger may be susceptible to kinetosis induced by certain ride vehicle motions and/or other elements of the ride system experience,” it adds.

In order to reduce motion sickness, the patent says “ride vehicle systems may include a forced air system configured to discharge an air flow toward passengers”. This will be achieved by directing the air flow through the ride restraints.

The ‘forced air system’ is “configured to generate an air flow, direct the air flow internally through the restraint, and discharge the air flow toward the passenger via a discharge port of the restraint”.

Universal parks aim to mitigate motion sickness

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The Orlando Business Journal has confirmed that the patent could result in more revenue for Universal attractions such as Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

John Gerner, managing director at theme park consulting firm Leisure Business Advisors LLC, said: “This is a visitor satisfaction issue and its potential effect on revenue.”

Disney recently published patent applications that update the Mad Tea Party ride and detail the ‘dynamic management of virtual queues’ to replace long waits in standby queues.

Images: Universal

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Bea Mitchell

A journalist specialising in entertainment and attractions, Bea loves theme parks (mainly Disney) and is particularly interested in things of a gothic, horror or fantasy nature.

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