IAAPA 2014 Orlando Highlights and Geekout

The annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) show is sort of a wonderland for those like me who spend their lives at the intersection of art and technology.  And one of the great things about the IAAPA show is that it is unabashedly commercial and unpretentious, serving a market that exists only for the purposes of entertaining people.  Here, you will find sophisticated, multi million dollar, high tech systems being sold in the same hall as light up cotton candy makers.  This year's IAAPA was a pretty good show, here's some photo and video highlights (at the end) of stuff I found interesting.

Tommy Bridges at the very fun TEA party:

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Virtual mini golf at the TEA party:

The always cool Flogos, which make logos out of bubbles and helium:

A light post that also shoots out "snow":

Bouncy houses are getting more and more detailed every year:

I couldn't get a good photo of it, but these guys had a very cool interactive game which made good use of projection mapping:

I really liked this usage of LED's on the edge of a clear circle:

Conduct-able fountain:

This "Hurricane Tunnel" showed nothing but videos of...tornadoes:

Pretty cool translucent tubes for water slides:

Animax and Weigl showed a very cool new control system for animatronics, which allows standard puppet motions to control a character's movements:

LED's were everywhere:

What about the voltage?

Zamperla was selling the Thunderbolt roller coaster first built for Coney Island (my before and after shots here):

Spin art is back!  Now for T-Shirts:

There was lots of high tech control stuff too, and highest of the high tech was my friends at Smart Monkeys and their virtualized systems for control.  

Only at IAAPA:

In the video I have one clip of the new Harry Potter train, and I didn't take many photos there because I was too busy looking at the place.  The combined Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions at Universal--and especially Diagon Alley--take integration of theme, story, and technology to a place I've never seen at any park.  Universal has now raised the bar for everyone else.

Jim Janninck and I also hosted our geekout, this time at a mini-golf course at Universal.  We had a good turn out of a lot of industry people, including a couple I had only known virtually and never met in person. Here's the group that survived the cold (a few people had to leave early for various reasons):

We'll be back in Orlando with another case study geekout at Infocomm in June!