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Ride Forces


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Hi all. I wanted to share an app I’ve been working on for the past year or so with Coastin Eric that I hope coaster enthusiasts like ourselves might find interesting.

 

For several years I’ve found myself wanting more when it comes to thrill ride statistics. Sure we’ve got standard ones like height, length, speed, and if we’re lucky max g force. As a lover of airtime I wanted to know more than just the max g force.

 

I remembered playing games like RollerCoaster Tycoon seeing stats like max negative g’s, total airtime, and a graph of the forces throughout the whole ride. I wanted these stats for real rides. I did some searching and found only a handful of graphs like this for coasters on the internet so I set out to try recording them myself.

 

I ended up building an app for iPhone and Apple Watch called Ride Forces which you can download here if you’d like to try it for yourself. The main goal of the app currently is to capture vertical g forces. I’ll spare you the technical details, but here are a few examples of rides I recorded with the app that revealed interesting results.

 

 

El Toro was a big inspiration for this app, I always wanted to know just how strong the negative g forces were on those ejector airtime hills. This ride in the last car produced forces of -1.3 g

eltoro.jpg.7ac7ec7b47d3eb628e00dc1d2efc06ba.jpg

 

 

Ever wonder just how forceful a pretzel loop is? Manta at SeaWorld Orlando pulls 3.6 g in the pretzel loop (pictured here as negative g force since face down is considered the positive direction). The human body actually tolerates high g forces best in this position.

manta.jpg.bce68baf70c0d8413c6bb828a46d3df8.jpg

 

 

Non coaster rides can also be recorded. Here's a Giant Discovery, which creates a cool looking pattern, and more airtime than Steel Vengeance!

wonderwoman.jpg.795e42ab73412f1f67e841f5d17293a9.jpg

 

So to recap, here are some reasons you might want to use the app for yourself:

  • Allows you to relive your favorite rides
  • Helps you rate rides based on real data, rather than trying to recall the experience from memory
  • Share your experience on social media in a unique way
  • You can compare how the dynamics of a ride are affected by various factors such as:
    • Where you sit on the ride
    • How the ride changes over time (trim adjustments, retracking, wear and tear...)
    • Effects of weather and temperature

 

Happy to receive any feedback or questions you have about the app. It’s a bit simple for now but I hope to add more features over time.

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At first I wondered how you got that El Toro data in the past year or so and was going to suggest that you keep it on the down-low but then I remembered that Apple Watch was a thing.

 

Anyway, cool app!

 

Ha yes, that was definitely a consideration when deciding to build the app for Apple Watch. I encourage everyone to follow the rules!

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Is it only available for the iPhone?

 

Yes only iPhone at the moment. An Android version would probably be possible but I don't have plans to work on that in the short term.

 

By the way, I'd say Manta pulls 4.6 Gs in that pretzel loop because all humans weight is equal to 1 g, so you should add 1 to the 3.6.

 

The 1 g force of gravity is included in this calculation so 3.6 is the correct value. Acrobat, the clone of Manta at Nagashima Spa Land, lists the max g force of their ride at 4.09 g. So it's close but not quite the same. There are many variables that could account for discrepancies like this, such as what seat you're in (I was near the back on this ride, I think the middle might produce higher forces?), how fast the ride is running, rattle of the ride vehicle, and the calibration of equipment. I can't vouch for the complete accuracy of the accelerometers in our mobile devices but it should give a decent approximation.

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Can we get sdettling an automatic top level promotion from "I Guess Donkeys Are Okay"?

 

This will be so cool. I want make spreadsheets. Run these numbers against the coaster polls... compare numbers from different seats...

 

I straight off want the data from my hometown ROAR coaster and compare the numbers between summer, FF, and HITP. On hot days it is the last ride because it is soooo close to being great- snow on the ground it means rerides. What do the numbers say?

 

I would think you could sell this right to the parks. Give a rider a watch like Disney hands off the wait time lanyard. They would have data. If they displayed it enthusiasts would geek out. If we got to wear the watch OMG. Different than having a sensor on the train.

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Amazing idea! I’d love to see people post results of the app here! I’m very curious how it looks on a shuttle coaster like Mr. Freeze!

 

Edit: actually I would like to see someone post what the chart looks like for a ride like Xcalibur at SFStL

Edited by SixFlagsAstroworld
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At first I wondered how you got that El Toro data in the past year or so and was going to suggest that you keep it on the down-low but then I remembered that Apple Watch was a thing.

 

Anyway, cool app!

I had that exact same thought process

 

This seems really cool, I wish I could get it, but apparently my 6s+ doesn't support motion tracking

Maybe you should put a note saying which phones it works for?

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This seems really cool, I wish I could get it, but apparently my 6s+ doesn't support motion tracking

Maybe you should put a note saying which phones it works for?

 

Ah thanks for letting me know, I'll note this in the app and on the App Store listing. Apple's documentation wasn't very clear on this, it does appear that you'll need an iPhone 7 or newer to record rides on an iPhone. For those with older phones you could still pair an Apple Watch, if you have one, and use it that way.

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I just want to point out that those asking for an Android version, it's not something super easy like clicking a button to save as!

 

The reason apps are much easier for iOS is that there is ONE apple operating system (sure there are versions, but you just make it for the latest version and make people upgrade!). When it comes to developing, testing, and making an app work for an "Android phone" there are literally HUNDREDS of different ones and it's really hard to make the app work right on a lot of them.

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