July 27, 2005 5:26 AM   Subscribe

Meet the Robocoaster - The Robocoaster is a variation on the robot arms which are used in factories to build cars. By adding seats, designers have turned a functional machine into the fastest, most unpredictable ride you'll ever take. It can be self programmed to travel in millions of movement combinations. No ride will ever be the same. Video (Flash) 1, 2 and 3. Via Beyond Tomorrow.
posted by sjvilla79 (34 comments total)
Yah! I don't even like regular roller coasters, so that looks absolutely horrifying. Cool, but horrifying. Neat post, though.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:55 AM on July 27, 2005

posted by leapingsheep at 5:59 AM on July 27, 2005

posted by chrid at 6:01 AM on July 27, 2005

I'm sure they have all the bugs worked out, and all the pre-programmed trajectories are clear of any interference. But wouldn't it still be prudent to place some sort of a cage around the participants? I mean, it looks fun, up until the first dismemberment.
posted by placebo_addict at 6:19 AM on July 27, 2005

leapingsheep - I clicked on the thread to post the exact same comment... character for character.

What leapingsheep said!
posted by Necker at 6:42 AM on July 27, 2005

I mean, it looks fun, up until the first dismemberment.

Or until the first time it just drives someone's skull into the pavement... POP, like a grape.
posted by Necker at 6:43 AM on July 27, 2005

... or a soft reset causes a reload of it's original software and it tries to make a hatchback out of two lawyers.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:57 AM on July 27, 2005

meh...I think half the fun of roller coasters is the size and beauty of the actual apparatus, to say nothing of that wonderfully slow, anxious, clickity-clickity ride to the top.

I've always wanted to fly around in a rocket car, but I've never really wanted to simulate the thrills of getting the bejesus shaken out of me by a killer robot.

posted by es_de_bah at 7:06 AM on July 27, 2005

What a misnomer, Roller coasters coast, this amusement ride flails the suckers around like an Octopus. Shoulda named it RoboOctopus.
posted by DBAPaul at 7:07 AM on July 27, 2005


Does it play "You Shook Me All Night Long?"
posted by Foosnark at 7:10 AM on July 27, 2005


RobOctopus (with the long o being the key).
posted by Necker at 7:25 AM on July 27, 2005

'Course the lack of seven other arms...
posted by Necker at 7:26 AM on July 27, 2005

Video 2 shows an injured rider needing to be carted off in a wheelchair. Just wait until they put tank treads on that thing and give it a conscience. God help us all.
posted by itchylick at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2005

If those "skilled" workers at the amusement parks are gonna be responsible for moving people around, there's gonna be a lot of dead people. :(
posted by cleverusername at 7:42 AM on July 27, 2005

That's the dumbest looking "ride" I've ever seen. Nausea? Check. Dizzyness? Check. Projectile vomiting? Check, check, check.
posted by zardoz at 7:57 AM on July 27, 2005

Looks fun, but I'm completely amazed that they would setup a robot as a ride at a tradefair. I'm guessing the PR benefits probably outweighed the risk.

Looking at the video, I was more concerned about the base lifting up from the floor and crashing the riders into the ground, than a malfunction of the robot itself.
posted by freq at 8:06 AM on July 27, 2005

Check out the "Features" section under Specifications...

* Aluminum robot construction for low inertia
* Maintenance free brushless AC drives
* IP65 Rating
* Microsoft Windows operating system
* Internet connectivity
* 8 in color VGA display
* Comprehensive diagnostics embedded
* Sound card and music output capability
* User selectable language
* Integrated system control sequencer

No way in hell am I getting on that thing...
posted by rbf1138 at 8:10 AM on July 27, 2005

anyone who gets hurt on that has no sympathy from me. get over the thrill rides people.
posted by jmackin at 8:32 AM on July 27, 2005

Wait till they blow their first cerebral aneurysm by swinging someone around upside down. Those seem to be pretty serious accelerations.

I can just picture a ring of black-suited lawyers lining the fence like a flock of vultures, jostling the paramedics out of the way.
posted by RMALCOLM at 8:33 AM on July 27, 2005

* Microsoft Windows operating system
* Internet connectivity

This combination scares the piss out of me.
posted by bshort at 8:35 AM on July 27, 2005

Has anyone ever seen the old 50's sci-fi movie "Gog"? That's what this thing reminds me of. There's a scene where these astronauts are being tested at high G-forces on this centrifuge thingy, which then gets sabotaged so that it goes at lethal speeds. I think I'll skip this ride.
posted by unreason at 8:42 AM on July 27, 2005

designers have turned a functional machine into the fastest, most unpredictable ride you'll ever take

according to the link, this thing has a maximum speed of about 11 mph. dodonpa it ain't.
posted by jjoye at 8:47 AM on July 27, 2005

Why do I picture ED209 gunning down an OCP VP when I see this?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:10 AM on July 27, 2005

Guys in ties on stupid rides is just plan wrong.

Doesn't even go anywhere...just sits there and shakes the bejesus out of you. No proper respect for the x and y and z axis. Everyone looks oppressed and vaguely infantile at the end of it.

If a "rollarcoaster" doesn't leave you feeling happy, exhilarated and empowered what good is it?? Barf.
posted by Skygazer at 9:46 AM on July 27, 2005

Video 2 shows an injured rider needing to be carted off in a wheelchair.

He's obviously disabled, that's a specialized wheelchair and there's a shot of it sitting there while the ride is still in operation.
posted by bizwank at 10:14 AM on July 27, 2005

MetaFilter: Guys in ties on stupid rides

I am a HUGE fan of roller coasters, but this thing doesn't appeal to me at all. As has been pointed out, half the beauty of a coaster is the flowing shapes and the precision of the physics involved. Also the shifting view as you hurtle through space, the feeling of the wind making your cheeks flap like a basset hound's, the dizzying heights followed by the drop- whipping around on a mechanical arm gives you none of this.

Also, there was a ride similar to this (but more violent) pictured at the beginning of "Spy Kids 2," if I'm not mistaken.
posted by BoringPostcards at 12:40 PM on July 27, 2005

They've got one of these at the newly renovated and still imrpoving Mt. Olympus Theme Park in the Wisconsin Dells. My 12 year old took a ride on it when we were there last. He's a bit of a roller coaster freak, and wasn't too impressed. Of course, there were 5 levels of "extreme", and he only rode on level 1, so it may not have been up to his standards.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:13 PM on July 27, 2005

Put a bubble around it and display a 270 degree CG view, then you'll have something.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:04 PM on July 27, 2005

Metafilter: ED209 gunning down an OCP VP.
posted by zardoz at 4:58 PM on July 27, 2005

I want one. No, two!

I'd like to see one in a video sphere as well. As long as it's not like Disney's "Soarin'". That ride is cool and all but it made me quite ill.

Just set up the arm with a music activated algorithm, a quad stack of killer PA speakers with too many bassbins and display a bunch of winamp AVS or milkdrop visualizations and I'll be quite pleased.

Also: CynicalKnight wins!
posted by loquacious at 5:07 PM on July 27, 2005

wait--loquacious did you ride this? or did the videos of it make you ill?
they made me think, "that looks boring". but then i'm solidly in the rollercoaster-luddite camp...
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:13 PM on July 27, 2005

No, I rode "Soarin' over California" at Disneyland's California Adventure, and was comparing this to the in-thread concept of a RoboCoaster with a video screen.

I was indicating that I'd like to ride a RoboCoaster with a good sound system and video screen displaying psychedelic graphics for sensory overload purposes. I'm a coaster nut myself, and I'd ride a RoboCoaster. Why not? It looks like it has some pretty novel movements and negative G motions and drops and whatnot. Plus it could be different all the time. It'd probably be fun, in a fraction of the space and cost. Then again, I like those "orbitron" no-power three-axis simulator rides where some cracked out guy with a truck and a trailer "operates" the ride by manually spinning the rings.

(spoilers below)

Soarin' is this rather tame sim-ride kinda thing that's supposed to be like an ultralight or hanglider flight over the more well known and/or cliched attractions of California. It features a genuinely massive parabolic wrap around screen with a film and soundtrack paired with a digital motion control system, and, uhm, artificial scents. An orange grove, for example.

The seats are these rows and rows of foot-less bench seat kind of things with lap belts and, if I recall, a shoulder bar. At the beginning of the ride they're all floor level. As the ride starts up, the individual banks of seats swoop into the air and are engineered to arrange themselves in a sort of staggered staircase configuration so that they're almost arranged vertically, but each row is set back from the other just enough to provide a pretty impressive full-field view of the enormous screen.

Once in the air the seats (slightly) bank, dip, and swoop appropriately to the action on screen, giving the illusion of flight and motion, while a thin duct above your seat bank simulates wind and the artificial scents that are there to supposedly enhance the experience.

Frankly the whole thing made me totally motion sick, and not in a way I've ever experienced before. I don't know if it was the scents, or the limited motion (it felt like it should move more), or the huge digitally projected screen, or what. But the rest of the day was shaky at best. And I like Star Tours, and don't get sick on that. I hardly get motion sick at all. I don't think I'll ever go on Soarin' again.
posted by loquacious at 9:34 PM on July 27, 2005

Here's the version of robocoaster with a 180 degree CG display "shell", simulating a flight over the surface of Mars.
posted by elphTeq at 11:56 PM on July 27, 2005

Okay, that's cool.

I've thought about this problem a lot. Not being either a physicist or a mathematician, I've been left to idly consider how one mimics--and how failthfully one could mimic--restricted acceleration of a less restricted acceleration and within an accelerated frame of reference.

Intuitively, I'm inclined to think that if the pod could be moved across a whole surface of a sphere, you could do a pretty good job. You could do an even better job if you have an accurate perceptual model of our experience of acceleration and position in space and then discard elements of verisimitude that are worthless.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:40 PM on July 28, 2005

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