Space Fantasy The RideThe “Space Fantasy” attraction at Universal Studios Japan features new 3D depth-sensing and multi-touch technology that allows visitors to interact with multi-media imagery.

“Space Fantasy is the first theme park ride to venture into 3D depth-tracking rider experiences,” says Vincent John Vincent, President of GestureTek, the company that created the new technology.

How It Works
3D cameras scan the surrounding environment and detect movement. “Our immersive gesture control systems are the inspiration for the technology behind Kinect, so it’s fitting that GestureTek has taken this capability from the home to the public,” said Vincent. Kinect is a “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience” by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game platform. GestureTek’s award winning interactive gesture-control technology was used in two different parts of the attraction.

The Experience
The premise of the Space Fantasy ride is the impending death of the sun. In the pre-ride area, the technology is used to allow space entities to engage passers-by, reacting to the riders’ movements and gestures. On the actual ride, GestureTek’s touch-free multi-touch interface adds a collaborative element to the rider experience, so that guests can interact together with on-screen elements while working toward a common goal.

GestureTek managed the creation of custom content featuring animated intergalactic ‘sun fairies’ that tumble, fly, lead visitors and scatter in reaction to visitors’ movements and gestures.

“Our 3D tracking system can be configured to respond to a broad range of one-handed or two-handed gestures, including swipes, circular motions, pokes, waves and more,” said Francis MacDougall, GestureTek’s Chief Technology Offer. “The Space Fantasy attraction primarily utilizes intuitive pointing gestures, to guarantee easy and immediate user interaction, with no learning curve.”

As part of the ride, GestureTek’s multi-touch software and custom-designed camera array powers an interactive experience where, for the first time ever, riders can control content on the screens around them, simply by gesturing with their arms.