This Easter break will see thousands of families heading to theme parks to enjoy some fun and quality family time. Thorpe Park Resort will be one of many welcoming those thrill-seekers. Among the rides available to enjoy will be their new The Walking Dead ride, which is the first mobile phone charging rollercoaster in the UK. It utilises energy harvesting technology which is curated with Researchers from Queen Mary University London and will transform energy from the ride into electricity to charge phones.
Riders will deposit their phones into an on-park charging unit. The idea is that the faster the ride goes, the more you will scream and more power will be generated for charging the phones of the next ride goers.
The Walking Dead: The Ride has a train carriage fitted with devices that will harvest the energy from the g-force and vibrations of the ride as well as screams. It is stored in a power management unit throughout the day. Staff will then remove the unit from carriages and deposit in into the on-site mobile charging point where ride goers will charge devices. The 188mm x 188xx x 67mm energy harvesting device is jet black to blend into the creepy surroundings of the ride, which is themed around the popular TV show and lasts 90 seconds.
The technology took three months to implement from the start of the design to instillation. If the technology is successful, it may become a permanent fixture for the 2018 season. This will mean that both millennials and families who visit in the next few weeks will be among the first in the UK to sample this new technology.
John Burton, the Creative who came up with the ride concept 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.”
Dr Joe Briscoe, School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London said, “Using vibrations and movement from The Walking Dead: The Ride has allowed us to harness the stray energy that is all around us. This is an exciting concept that will undoubtedly be used more frequently in the future. The system uses a mini energy harvester to capture the kinetic energy, transferring it to a separate electrical circuit and storage unit, which is enough to charge a mobile phone.”
This will be a welcome addition for many millennial visitors. A recent survey showed that 18-24 year old people most fear their phone battery dying, with 68% of those surveyed saying this is their number one fear. Although, as a parent of a young child who enjoys days at theme parks, having a fully charged phone to capture memories with is something I think Thorpe Park visitors of varying ages would appreciate.
|TOP FEARS OF YOUNG PEOPLE (18-24)||RESULTS|
|1.Mobile phone running out of battery||68%|
|2. Sounding stupid at work or university||54%|
|3. Your favourite TV show being cancelled||34%|
|4. Getting no likes on a social media post||29%|
|5. Unexpected overdraft fees||28%|
|6. Missing out on festival tickets||20%|
|7. Finding a grey hair||17%|
|8. Falling behind your workout buddy at the gym||14%|
|9. Having to wait over ten minutes for an UBER||12%|
|10. Parent friend request on social media||11%|
What do you think of this new phone charging technology being added to theme park rides?