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Arts & Culture

IAAPA 2013 is a mega-convention of carnival contraptions

Live Active Cultures

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

"Immersion" is still the amusement business' favorite buzzword, and projection domes are an increasingly popular way of achieving it. Holovis and Barco partnered to produce the best version of the concept I've seen yet. Their three-projector system creates a seamless 270-degree image whose brightness and clarity surpasses the spherical screens inside Universal Orlando's Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. They told me it could be adapted for 3-D projections, but even in two dimensions, it was more than immersive enough for me.

Interactive projection mapping

Montreal's Moment Factory, another partner of Holovis and Barco, showed off their projection mapping expertise on a snazzy scale model of Barcelona's Sagrada Família cathedral (search online for astounding footage of them illuminating the real thing in 2012). Alterface took the technology a step further, demonstrating a shooting gallery that mixes animated physical props with interactive video projections that seemingly bring static set pieces to life. African Magic, their shooting "GameRide" built around the concept, looks a lot more fun (and racist) than Disney's Toy Story Mania.


Speaking of Toy Story Mania, it's just one of the iconic E-Tickets (along with Soarin', Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones Adventure, Forbidden Journey, Spider-Man and more) that Fantawild shamelessly ripped off – er, paid tribute to – for their enormous empire of Chinese theme parks. Other ride manufacturers weren't much more creative this year, but S&S more than made up for it by announcing one of their first Polercoasters will break ground in Florida (they won't yet say exactly where) in 2014. At more than 500 feet tall, the observation tower will host the world's tallest roller coaster; waiting the 24 months it will take for the massive tower to rise might prove even more torturous than its record-setting first inversion.

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