The Manta scuba diving motion platform was designed to provide a premium experience for visitors to a new diving centre.

Everything from the smoothness of the motors to the selection of leather upholstery had to be considered in detail.

The team behind the Deep sea diving experience, wanted people to move smoothly and feel fully supported, to enhance the digital immersive experience and provide a truly engaging piece of virtual reality with a good dose of genuine reality injected back in.

A smooth motion platform

At the outset, we researched all available motion platforms to find the best options capable of carrying the load of a person, plus the structure that we would be building on top. A platform made by Motion Systems was selected for its smooth movement and because it allowed us to integrate all the 3D design data we needed to work with. 


The early design process involved what we call, 'rough and ready' prototyping, which was great fun and involved making numerous ergonomic rigs from bits of scaffold and bubble wrap. We tested it out with a range of people from teenagers through to large adults, until we had found the optimum position to support them throughout their time in the experience. Once this had been defined we could design the structure that would be seen above the ground.

Naturally in control

The final design had to be lightweight, rigid, comfortable and look great from all angles.  To make the final system we relied on Ogle Models and Prototypes and Prototrim to produce our design as a beautiful, glossy white fibreglass moulding, trimmed with high quality black leather.

To allow visitors to take control of the experience in a natural way, we designed an ergonomic housing for the HTC Vive controllers that we 3D printed, giving us total control over the finished form and attached them through a self-balancing mechanism. 

"Tasked with the challenge of designing and building a bespoke motion simulation platform, The Imagination Factory were pivotal in making this a success. From their initial concept sketches through various rounds of design iteration, to creating something that was both functional and beautiful. We look forward to working with them again in the future."

Stuart Cupit, Co-founder, CTO Solarflare Studio


  • Human-Centred Design research 
  • Concept development 
  • Ergonomics
  • POP rig construction
  • User testing + evaluation 
  • Motion control development + integration 
  • VR platform + control integration 
  • Testing multi-axis controller mounting mechanism
  • Custom glass fibre Manta body 
  • Leather upholstery 
  • Platform build


Get in touch with one of us at The Imagination Factory today, we'd love to know more.


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