A Ferris wheel to be built in Japan is going to be the biggest in the world — and will integrate augmented reality (AR) into the glass of its viewing pods.
If there's one thing the world needs, it's more Ferris wheels. No, we're perfectly serious. Imagine taking your lunch break sailing above the rooftops, sandwich in hand while the world slowly dips and rises below. Every city needs at least two.
An as-yet-unnamed city in Japan, though, is getting the mother of all Ferris wheels. Called the Nippon Moon giant observation wheel (GOW), it could be twice the size of the London Eye wheel that stands 135 metres high, eclipsing the current largest ferris wheel in the world, the 165-metre-high Singapore Flyer.
It's being designed by Dutch studio UNStudio, with some engineering help from Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Design, and some interactive design and animation from Italian studio Experientia and Dutch studio Submarine, respectively.
But wait! Why would they need interactive design and animation? Well, that's because the experience of riding the Nippon Moon is going to be an augmented-reality one. The glass of the observation pods can be turned on via smartphone to show a digitally altered view of the landscape, possibly including information from Google Street View and Maps, although UNStudio doesn't detail exactly how this is accomplished.
The smartphone app can also be used as a "window" for a more personal AR experience, and it incorporated a "queuing system" that means people won't have to wait in a line in order to board the wheel. In addition, it can allow riders to communicate with other riders in other observation pods.
Speaking of the 32 observation pods, UNStudio intends to make those one of a kind as well. They will be "double decker", allowing more people to ride in each one, and each pod will have a different AR theme — so it will be possible to take the 40-minute ride many times and still never have the same experience twice.
Of course, it may still not happen: the project is still in the funding stage, and is a long way from construction. Still, we think Darling Harbour should get one of these things happening as soon as possible — although come to think of it, we probably prefer.