Physics @ Disney

In 2011 I received an engineering sample of a three-axis MEMs accelerometer chip from Analog Devices – at the time, a new and very novel chip, it was just waiting for the right project! The result is an Accelerometer, and the perfect place to test it was Walt Disney World in Florida. Presented here are the results and complete analysis of the Tower of Terror (one of my personal favourites) as well as data from several other rides.

Tower of Terror Analysis

The actual accelerometer is a small, pocket-sized device, with a large internal memory capacity and built-in graphical LCD display. Data collected can then be downloaded to a PC via a serial link and can be analyzed.

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Mission Space Analysis

Unlike the Tower of Terror, the accelerometer cannot be used to determine position - not that it'd be all that interesting, since the ride simply spins in a circle, however the accelerometer cannot sense rotation ... for this a gyroscope is required.

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Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Analysis

One of the fastest rides at DisneyWorld in Florida, Rock 'n Roller Coaster is a steel roller coaster completely enclosed in a building. It features a unique electromagnetic launch system (a linear motor, really) which propels the car from zero to sixty MPH in 2.8 seconds!

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Expedition Everest Analysis

This is the most "vicious" roller coaster at Walt Disney World, and riders are subject to serious g-forces both during the forward and backward portions of the ride.

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