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Figure-8 Slide

No dizziness
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A slide as an emergency exit is well known; airplanes use them. However, a slide is not generally so useful for a tall building; a straight slide would have far too high an exit speed, and a coil-type slide would leave you so dizzy, upon exiting, that you wouldn't be able to walk away.

So consider a figure-8 slide! This shape would be apparent only when viewed from overhead of the slide; it's not so obvious when you are using it. From the side, the thing would look something like a regular zig-zag fire escape, except there wouldn't be any stairs. It might also resemble a switchback trail that goes up a mountainside (viewed from the side).

From inside the building, you open the fire-escape door and step onto a sort of triangle-shaped landing. A straight section of the slide crosses the landing, this straight section is always angled such that one end is closer to the building than the other end. (That's why the landing can't squarely meet the slide.) You can easily see if the straight section is occupied or not, so that you can hop into the slide without being collided by someone already on it.

Away you go! Let's assume that when you hop on, the straight section is angled away from the building, down and to your right. You slide a short distance and enter a half-loop (ok, a little more than half a loop). This right-turning half-loop is attached to the side of the building, and since you entered the half-loop away from the building, you exit the loop adjacent to the building. The loop is mid-way between floors, of course.

The next straight section carries you away from that half-loop and past the next landing, one floor below your starting point, again angling away from the building. Halfway between this floor and the next is another half-loop, which you will move through leftward. Then you will again be adjacent to the building, and entering another straight section that angles away from the building. A rightward half-loop will be next, followed by another leftward half-loop, and so on, until you reach the bottom of the slide.

Each half-loop slows your speed, as well as prevents you from becoming dizzy from an accumlation of loops-in-the-same-direction.

Vernon, Aug 22 2006

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       Ouch, my poor, roasted backside. I take it you're planning to use some sort of mat, like an old-fashioned helter-skelter would, to deal with the minor problem of absorbing 80kg x 9.81ms-2 x 100 floors worth of potential energy, otherwise delivered to the escapee's bottom in painful form.   

       Mind you, you'd be able to tell who had escaped from the tower by the total absence of bottom coverage provided by their trousers/pants (depending, or not, on which side of the atlantic they're on).
david_scothern, Aug 22 2006
  

       Does it really "unwind" you to alternate the direction of the turns?
half, Aug 22 2006
  

       [david scothern], I have no objection to such a mat. (Heh, I remember as a kid using sheets of wax paper, to slide faster, not slower.) Please note that I didn't say how long the straight sections are, between the half-loops. The longer they are, though, the shallower the angle of the slide, and the less fast you will slide (and while not less total friction, the more easily your buttocks can accommodate the lesser rate of experiencing friction). Certainly I expect this to be somewhat shallower than the 45-degree angle of a staircase/fire-escape.   

       [half], "unwinding" is not the right term, I think. We all know that an accumulation of rapid/continuous turns in the same direction will make just about anyone dizzy. We are certainly preventing such an accumulation here. You might try simulating the motion by turning your head far to the left and then far to the right, many times quickly. Are you dizzy, after doing that? Maybe just a little. But those straight sections in this slide mean you aren't turning left and right so immediately-again, after all. So simulate by turning your head quickly, then pausing before turning your head the other way, then pausing....
Vernon, Aug 22 2006
  

       Just in case that Vernon's theory about what makes people dizzy ("an accumulation of loops-in-the-same-direction") turns out to be wrong, perhaps add a little vomitaduct to serpentine smartly along the side.
jutta, Aug 22 2006
  

       Not as fun as I thought when I read the title. I imagined the slide broadly sweeping out, ten meters over the edge of the building, then looping back in, through the wall, through the floor, out the other side and looping back again. When it rains, it can be used as a gutter, sweeping everything to the sidewalk. You could take a potatoe sack and skip taking the elevator. Great fun...
jellydoughnut, Aug 22 2006
  

       You get dizzy because the liquid in your inner ear that controls balance moves (think of it as a spirit level).
marklar, Aug 23 2006
  

       You could sell tickets for kids & adults to ride it during non emergencies. That might just fund the construction & maintenance of it. (I'd pay a reasonable amount to do it once.)   

       Could these be built over the roadway and have connections to 2 buildings, possibly in a double helix, for tall buildings?
Zimmy, Aug 23 2006
  

       No intersections? Was thinking of a figure 8 race track, sloped and repeating. This is good too.
Shz, Aug 23 2006
  

       Non-emergencies? Do we plan our emergencies now? *crackling over loud speaker* "You may now enter the pool, we are not currently expecting any emergencies."
Newo Ikkin, Aug 23 2006
  

       I thought this might be a device for slide guitar, instead of the traditional bottleneck or cut pipe. The 8 would intersect strings to form a chord.
bungston, Aug 23 2006
  

       If the slide had small ramps such that the slider transiently became airborne, this would allow time for buttock cooling.
bungston, Aug 23 2006
  

       Or, if it were a water slide...
half, Aug 24 2006
  

       + for using "switchback" in an arguably good Idea.
reensure, Aug 24 2006
  

       This is way better than that figure seven slide.   

       I feel almost apologetic that I feel compelled to extend this idea sideways in a manner I would think is well on its way to becoming predictable:   

       Connect your fire escape slides to the buildings adjacent and opposite. In spite of the geometric changes that would entail, I wholly agree that somehow, some way, these slides must be made to be in a figure of 8.   

       Perhaps for day-to-day use, there could be an alternative method of descent, involving sliding? Maybe the figure-of-8 is what one would take, going to work?
skoomphemph, Apr 19 2014
  
      
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