Building a high-performance, aggressive-maneuvering, visually-immersive, two-person submarine simulator that anyone can operate!
A New Kind of Fun
A fantasy centuries in the making - from Jules Vernes' 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to James Cameron's upcoming Avatar sequel, we have longed to explore and travel the ocean with ease and comfort. And now we can!
There are great video games out there -- first person games where you can control a character in numerous and varied fantastic worlds. And there are great amusement park rides that will shock and stimulate you and make you giggle until you puke up that chocolate covered fried dough you didn't want to share with your sibling or significant other. But how many amusement park rides put you in a fantasy world, entirely under your own control-motion and all! Pretty much zero, right? Until the SeaBird Simulator!
Based upon AquaVenture WaterCrafts' extreme performance submarine, the SeaBird Sim will move like an amusement park ride -- upside down, on its side, steeply up, and steeply down -- like steering your own rollercoaster around the depths of the ocean! Unlike an amusement park ride, the rider will be in control. And unlike most amusement park rides, the SeaBird experience will happen in the context of a virtual world, in this case, beneath the projection of a visually stimulating underwater landscape.
The result is the ultimate virtual reality experience. Call it virtual reality ++. Your eyes will see what an actual SeaBird pilot sees; you'll hear what a SeaBird pilot hears; and because the sim actually moves, you'll feel what a SeaBird pilot feels. Simulator technology has come a long way over the last few decades. Commercial airline simulators are so realistic that when pilots learn to complete simulator training to learn a new airplane, their first flight is with paying passengers. SeaBird Simulations plans to deliver that kind of realism to our submarine sim.
In some ways, simulators are superior to the real thing. After all, the weather is always perfect, water visibility is just where we want it, the fish are never shy, and simulators let you experience things you could never do in the non-virtual world -- like the Hollywood Experience!
The Hollywood Experience vs. Complete Control
Some of you are going to want a nice, pleasant underwater experience, operating your sub without drama, in the serenity of the ocean's depths -- and going exactly where you want to go. For the more adventurous among you, consider the Hollywood Experience in which you'll be 'treated' to a 'dramatic' storyline where things don't quite go ... well, let's just say it might get scary. You'll still get plenty of stick time to operate the sim under your own control, but expect to lose control before you're done. Sign up for the Hollywood Experience if you like this sort of thing.
Reach Goals and the Future
The really cool thing about starting something new is that you can't entirely anticipate where it will take you! But we have some ideas ;-) If we are fortunate enough to be pursuing reach goals, there are a number of software packages we are considering developing. We welcome feedback in the comments section on which of the following appeal to you most (or feel free to suggest an idea of your own):
- Tour of the Titanic
- Underwater Combat Mission
- Monster Shark Attack
- Sea Mammal Safari and Bonding Experience
- High Speed Obstacle Course Race
- Lost City of Atlantis Tour
- Real and Imagined Creatures and Monsters of the Deep
- A "Fantastic Voyage" -- Journey Inside the Human Body
We have some other cool ideas, too, but none of them can happen until we exceed our funding goal, so please contribute and help spread the word! All contributed funds will go to the development of our simulator.
10 Really Awesome Things to do with the SeaBird Simulator
10) Provide a thrilling, educational, and motivational afternoon or day for your kid/grandkid/niece/nephew/or other cool kid and their classmates.
9) Conduct hydrodynamic research.
8) Provide a stimulating, educational, and motivational afternoon or day for a classroom or group of underprivileged or disadvantaged kids in Southern Florida (we've got a few groups we plan to donate time to, but we welcome additional benefactors and can match you with a school/group if you like).
7) Reward a person, group, or team for a job well done.
6) Advertise for your company or other cause in one of the coolest ways possible with our underwater billboard.
5) Champion interest in the ocean and its resources.
4) Share a totally exciting experience with your kid, parent, or significant other.
3) Work with our programmers to create an immersive visual depiction of the health (or lack thereof) of our reef structure and system.
2) Get real and creditable training in how to operate the actual SeaBird Submarine.
And the Number One Really Awesome Thing to do with the SeaBird Simulator:
1) Have a totally Awesome time!
You could travel to Miami, ride in a glass bottom boat, and experience nothing unique. Or you could ride the SeaBird Simulator and live out a centuries-old fantasy!
The SeaBird simulator will be equipped with the following super-cool features:
- We plan to offer customers the choice of looking at the surround screen or wearing Oculus Rift glasses.
- Externally, the sim is being constructed to a 1:1 scale to closely resemble the actual SeaBird Submarine. The sim will encompass 6 hydroplanes - fins that move when the sim's joystick is moved.
- Internally, the simulator will also be an accurate representation of the actual sub.
- Video in the waiting area will display instructions for how to operate the sim, including very important information like how to get in and out and how the controls work. There will also be entertaining underwater videos.
- As an advanced ticket holder, you'll have the chance to schedule your sim well in advance so you can be sure it will be available when you are. Please plan to arrive no later than 15 minutes before your scheduled sim time to watch the instructional videos and prepare for your dive.
- We have a number of other extras planned that we are very confident will impress and will present them once we can validate they meet our stringent standards.
The not so fine print: Please note: awards are for rides in a SeaBird Simulator - not the sub itself. And in all likelihood, awardees will have to travel to the Ft. Lauderdale area to redeem their award.
Here's an image of our actual single seat proof of concept sub:
Some Simulator Specifications and Other Details:
- Seats 2
- Vertical travel 12 feet
- Horizontal travel 4 feet
- Pitch +/- 45 degrees
- Roll 360 degrees (unlimited)
- Hydraulics 2000 psi
- Electric 240 Volt three phase
- Projection via 3 state of the art ultra-high throw (.1 ratio) projectors
- Both seats adjust vertically
- Joysticks at both seats
- Max weight 275 pounds rear seat; 250 pounds forward seat
Please note: Anyone with back or neck problems, who is or may be pregnant, has problems with dizziness or motion sickness or anyone with other relevant medical conditions or anyone under 10 years old or under 44 inches, will still be able to ride, but they will have to ride in a mode that restricts the simulator's motion.
Ask us about any other details you like. Just message us!
How do I schedule my ride?
Shortly after the successful funding of our campaign, award winners will receive coupon codes which will permit you to go online and schedule yourself for the date and time of your choosing. At that time, you'll also select Hollywood Profile or Complete Control. You'll be able to decide on use of the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles at the time of your simulator ride.
Will my ride ticket ever expire?
Obviously, we expect the SeaBird Sim to be a commercial success and we expect to see SeaBird Simulator operations appear in major cities throughout the country and perhaps internationally as well. In the best case scenario, we will arrange for Kickstarter contributors to take their ride at any existing site – but for now, please plan to have your ride in Florida. Unlike other awards that are 'consecrated' upon delivery, our awardees aren't 'consecrated' until they ride. We hope and expect to honor tickets beyond 5 years, if it really takes you that long to get down to Florida, but for 99.9 percent of us, that's sufficient time, and since no one knows what the future could hold, we're setting a 5 year expiration as the 5 year limit keeps uncertainty down to a reasonable level. Also, please keep in mind that our tickets are transferrable, so if you can't take your ride yourself, you're welcome to offer your ticket to someone else.
Will the SeaBird Simulator be used for anything other than recreational rides?
Yes! AquaVenture WaterCrafts will use the sim to demonstrate SeaBird capabilities to potential buyers and will train new owners/operators in the sim. Because the physics of the sim will accurately model SeaBird's real-world motion, there are even plans to use the sim to refine development so as to optimize performance.
Why don't you publish the address of your future site?
We expect to move into our retail location towards the end of March or April, which is too far in advance to secure a lease. We can tell you that our primary site criteria are somewhere between Ft. Lauderdale and South Beach, in an area with high foot traffic, and free or inexpensive parking. We will update as soon as the selection is made.
Why an 8 minute ride?
The SeaBird sim will be an intense experience! If you think about the intense experiences of your life, time doesn't necessarily have a lot of meaning. It speeds up; it slows down. For some, these 8 minutes will feel like an hour – but in a good way! For others, it will feel closer to 8 seconds! 8 minutes is convenient because it gives us a minute to get you in and settled and a minute to get you out, for a total 10 minute block of time, which is simple and convenient to schedule, offers a truly exciting experience, and makes good economic sense so we can keep our prices down.
The following animation demonstrates the planned 4 degree of motion capability of the SeaBird Sim:
If you've read all the way down to here, you must be really interested! So go ahead and purchase a ride for yourself and anyone else who will enjoy it. Then, please spread the word by sharing a link to our campaign with your friends and by posting it on social media. Thanks for your interest! We'll see you in the sim!!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
In the non-virtual world, our sister company, AquaVenture WaterCrafts, holds pending patents on advanced technology for the SeaBird sub, but in the virtual world, it's purely a matter of programming to make the sub perform exactly as we want. The SeaBird sub is part videogame/part amusement park ride, and technology in both of those areas is quite mature, so the risk of developmental delays, which can occur in any project, are minimal. We use a modular approach to programming, which limits the ability of potential bug and integration issues to slow us down substantially. System integration will be our largest challenge, but we have numerous expert advisors we can turn to, and we're also not beyond hiring consultants should our own efforts prove unsatisfactory. We allocated some extra time just in case things don't go exactly to plan, and we anticipate being able to deliver on time or early.
There is a minor area of uncertainty concerning screen displays. We will be projecting onto a curved screen in a tight space. Using advanced projectors, we will be blending images across multiple projectors, and these images must also be 'prewarped' so as to project properly. There are numerous commercial off-the-shelf software programs made to do this, so we don't think it will be problematic, but it's not out of the question that there could be display inaccuracies (improper display due to odd curvature or minor discontinuities between displays). Those who snorkel and/or SCUBA dive understand that visual inaccuracies when looking through glass underwater are typical, so we don't view such minor inaccuracies as being problematic as far as overall experience. As a contingency, we are having the visual system co-developed for the Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses.
The Oculus Rift folks have told us that their glasses will display properly upside down, although we might have to attach an extra strap so they stay in place throughout all the simulator's motion. You should be aware that some people are prone to motion sickness while wearing the Oculus glasses. Of course, we expect to have a fully functional display system and plan to offer everyone their choice between the virtual reality glasses or the immersion screen..
If we don't meet our funding goal, no contributor is charged any money, and the company is not obligated to produce the simulator. Financially, it's as if the campaign never happened.
Absolutely not! We will be scheduling all rides in 10 minute or greater blocks. You will have the opportunity to schedule your ride on line or call to schedule. We will be asking people to show up 15 minutes prior to watch a short video and to sign the waiver form from our insurance company. People who arrive late may have to wait until the next scheduled block time.