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Wearable Tech

We all rode Samsung's VR roller coaster and loved how real it felt

The whole CNET team took a ride on a virtual reality roller coaster here at Mobile World Congress. It was so realistic we actually felt a bit sick.

Kent German/CNET
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A piece of technology making us feel physically unwell is usually cause for concern, but in the case of Samsung's VR roller coaster, it was a sure sign of success.

Samsung set up its roller coaster simulator slap bang in the middle of its giant stand at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In the name of journalism (but mostly because it was fun), the whole of CNET's crack MWC team strapped themselves into the chairs and donned Samsung's Gear VR headsets.

Here's how it works:

We piled into chairs set out in rows, just like in a cinema, and put on the headsets. After a momentary calibration, footage of a sunny theme park began to play, and we quickly "boarded" the virtual roller coaster. The 360-degree video means that when you turn your head, you can look all around at the track above you and the gleeful faces of virtual people next to you (not the person actually sitting next to you, which is weird).

Using hydraulics, the seats physically moved around, tipping us from side to side and forwards and backwards, mimicking the movements that we'd be feeling if we were on a real ride.

samsung-vr-roller-coaster-cnet-15.jpg
Kent German/CNET

The result?

While my brain was aware I was sat in a conference centre in Catalonia, my body -- specifically, my stomach -- was thoroughly taken in by the experience. Lurching and churning, I quite honestly started to feel really rather nauseous. The movements of the chair, synced with VR footage, was enough to give the impression of g-force as we "hurtled" around the corners.

Once it came to a halt, I unclipped and slightly gingerly walked away.

The effect on my digestive system perhaps wasn't as extreme as it would have been had I been on the actual ride, but I was genuinely taken aback by how thoroughly my senses were tricked. I doubt it'll be replacing real theme parks any time soon, but I'm looking forward to seeing how this sort of immersive experience enhances movies and gaming in my own home.