Trumbull, EDW develop immersive simulation system

Visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull (“2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Blade Runner”) has developed a new ridefilm system that furthers the potential for immersive film experiences and technology.

Trumbull and his Massachusetts-based company, Entertainment Design Workshop (EDW), have collaborated with Hitachi to create what they say is an industry first — an interactive, all-electronic, six-passenger simulation system. In the form of a capsule, the system can be installed almost anywhere, such as theater lobbies as well as theme parks, without a lot of technical infrastructure or architectural considerations.

The simulator’s 13-foot-wide hemispherical screen employs “electronic multiprojection” to create a seamlessly merged, five-panel panorama, and is equipped with a digital sound system. Unlike other ride simulators that rely on hydraulics to move the spectators around, Trumbull’s system uses electromechanical technology.

Trumbull’s completely digital system uses an interactive database with characters, story and plot and a lot of action where each rider can manipulate a set of controls to influence the “journey.”

The product will be unveiled in Dallas this month at the Intl. Assn. of Amusement Parks and Attractions as a work in progress that will be available by spring.

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