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KUKA Manipulator + Disney Thrill Ride = RoboCoaster

Strap yourself to this 6-DOF robot manipulator and off you go

1 min read
KUKA Manipulator + Disney Thrill Ride = RoboCoaster

What happens when you put KUKA roboticists and Disney "imagineers" in the same room?

The result is the Sum of All Thrills, a robocoaster at Epcot, part of Walt Disney World in Florida. Strap yourself to this 6-DOF manipulator and off you go.

You ride under a hood with a screen showing high-def video of a virtual ride. There are even air blowers for added realism. The two-seat ride system keeps your legs suspended, just like in the real thing.

It's also cool that riders can customize their ride. And it appears the ride-design system is not just some mock interface -- it does look really well done, with equations and all.

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UPDATE: Or if you have a spare manipulator laying around, you can really design your own ride.

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UPDATE 2: Check also this flight simulator developed at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, in Tübingen, Germany, featured in our iCandy series of tech photos this month.

Photo: Anne Faden/Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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