Merlin Entertainments is launching the first ever roller coaster that charges mobile phones through its vibrations and riders’ screams at Thorpe Park Resort.
Train carriages on The Walking Dead – The Ride at Thorpe Park Resort have been fitted with devices that contain kinetic energy harvesting technology. Kinetic energy includes everything from the g-force and vibrations of the ride, to screams.
The devices capture this energy before converting into electrical energy, which is stored in a power management unit throughout the day. This unit is then removed from the carriages by staff and deposited into the on-site mobile charging point, allowing guests to charge their devices.
Riders will be able to see a set of LED lights powering up as guests screams become louder and the ride gets ever more ruckus throughout the 90 second experience. The energy harvesting device is jet black, blending into its dark and mysterious surroundings on the roller coaster themed around the AMC TV series.
Designed and installed by researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the engineering team at Thorpe Park Resort, the technology took three months to implement, from design to instillation. It will initially undergo a trial period at the park and, if successful, will become a permanent fixture for the 2018 season.
John Burton, a creative at Merlin Entertainments that worked on the ride, said: “The Walking Dead – The Ride is 15 out of 10 on the scare factor scale, so it makes sense to be able to combine and harness our visitors’ screams and the ride’s vibrations to help solve a problem each and every one of us faces; losing the charge on our mobiles when we’re on a day out.”
Thorpe Park Resort is owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments. The roller coaster is at the centre of the theme park’s Year of The Walking Dead series of events, which includes a themed live-action maze in May, Zombie Hunt battle for survival throughout the summer and Fright Nights during October.
Dominic Jones, divisional director at Thorpe Park, said: “In launching The Walking Dead – The Ride we want to ensure our guests are offered something they can’t get anywhere else. Our new and exclusive immersive experience is hands down one of the most thrilling, terrifying and now intelligent on offer in the UK.
“Being chased by walkers is guaranteed to be quite literally spine-chilling. We can’t wait to leave our guests powered up for the rest of the Year of The Walking Dead series of unmissable events for 2018.”
Images: c. David Parry/PA Wire.