Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Throw me for a Loop (or twenty)

For amusement only!
  [vote for,

An amusement park thrill ride involving a transparent tube a meter or three in diameter and hundreds of meters long, with hills and loops more tangled than a roller coaster, for one person at a time, magnetically launched and guided, every few seconds.

Arriving at the amusement attraction, where the sign asks, "Did you remember to skip lunch?", you face a choice of lines. Do you want the freefall ride in the three-meter tube, or the chute-suit ride in the one-meter tube? Let's assume you boldly choose the freefall ride. The attendants begin to fit you into your riding harness. This consists of two large rings, one that goes snugly around your upper chest and under your arms, the other goes snugly around your pelvis area, and three or four struts connect the rings. You walk over to the mouth of the three-meter tube, a dark hole in the ground, and the attendants momentarily plug two things into each ring. They hit a master switch, and each ring is given both a jolt of electric current and a shot of liquid nitrogen; you are now wearing two strong superconducting (insulated!) magnetic coils that are attracting each other, but the struts keep them apart, and your overall field is similar to a bar magnet. This magnetism is guaranteed to last for the duration of the ride, which you now begin by diving into the hole.

Meanwhile, you were able to watch the cowards in the other line getting into their chute-suits, which also features magnetic coil rings and struts, but also includes a third ring for the feet (clamped onto shoes not unlike skis), and is constructed so that the rings are one meter in diameter. They dive into a funnel that quickly becomes their ride's one-meter tube.

Falling in the three-meter tube, sensors detect the orientation of your magnetic field (in case you jumped in feet-first), and powerful magnetic pulses are applied, to make your fall curve toward the launch zone. You then become the bullet in a coil gun, being shot upwards hundreds of feet. The tube ends! You freely fly ballistically toward the next part of the ride, where the three-meter tube begins again, and more magnetic pulses cause your path of motion to curve wildly, following the layout of the tube system, through more underground sections, through underwater sections, through corkscrew loop-de-loops and more coil-gun ballistic shots. When at altitude you can see the spaghetti-like tangle of the two rides, and people moving at various points in the tubes. Those in the one-meter tube vaguely resemble canisters in a pneumatic delivery system, especially when seen from altitude, but you know they are being magnetically propelled also (no way to add air pressure between two people without slowing one of them down). When you catch glimpses of people tumbling in the three-meter tube, you try not to think about your own handy/mandatory barf bag....

Vernon, Oct 10 2003

Coil gun basics http://www.oz.net/~coilgun/home.htm
Note: Original coil gun idea assumes the propelled object doesn't already have a magnetic field. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Pneumatic system http://www.uiowa.ed...02022001/tubes.html
Drive-up locations at banks often have these, too. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Yep. Sign me up for a day pass, I'll bring the pizza and beer.   

       Yay! A [Vernon] idea which I read in its entirety, and understood. He must be dumbing things down.
half, Oct 10 2003

       Even more unique: an idea I can vote in favor of - congratulations, Vernon!
DrCurry, Oct 10 2003

       Very nice.   

       (A light meal eaten a while before helps combat motion sickness a lot but not right before.)
bristolz, Oct 10 2003

       Thanks, folks. bristolz, I mostly included that sign for humor, but I'll edit it.   

       For the sake of completeness, I should also mention that at the end of the ride, the superconducting rings need to be drained of their electric current, before they warm up enough to lose their superconductivity. I specifically mentioned that this MUST last for the duration of the ride. Powerful electromagnets require heavy currents -- which will cause the rings to explode if they lose superconductivity via warming. But this is just a safety/training/checklist kind of thing; those rings are quite safe while superconductive, and they only need to stay extremely cold for a few minutes at a time. We can make good enough insulation to meet the required guarantee.   

       Examining the preceding from a more generic viewpoint, recall that we have developed a high-energy civilization, in which individuals regularly control (usually safely, too) vastly more energy than did our ancient ancestors. Consider the 200-horsepower engine in many cars, and translate that as ownership of a literal 200 horses, to get an idea of just how much energy average people regularly mess around with, in concentrated form. And the trend is toward becoming associated with even more energy per person. As long as we can find safe ways to do it (and as long as the supply of energy holds out), it is going to happen.
Vernon, Oct 10 2003

       "Yeah, you used to love bein' flushed when you was an agent. Yeah, every Saturday night you'd be like, 'Flush me J. Flush me.' and I'd be like, 'Naw'."
RayfordSteele, Oct 10 2003

       Ow, my neck hurts. I want my money back. +
k_sra, Oct 10 2003

       Oh, yeah, Doc, and vote in favor of.
half, Oct 10 2003

       weight per rider would have to be calculated and compensated for; careful computer controls would be needed. This is one expensive idea. Bun.
Voice, Dec 30 2005


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