Epcot opens ride designing attraction with Raytheon

Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:15 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Epcot on Wednesday opened a new attraction called "Sum of All Thrills," which lets kids use computer tablets to design a virtual roller coaster, bobsled track or plane ride. After inputting their designs, kids climb into a robotic carriage that uses virtual-reality technology to help them experience the ride they've created.

The new ride program is sponsored by Raytheon, a military contractor, as part of its corporate philanthropy program to interest young people in math, science, technology and engineering. Math education is strategically important for the company, said William Swanson, Raytheon’s chief executive.

Read more from CNN and The New York Times.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:19 AM

Note the comments about how Raytheon is seeing a lack of new engineering recruits. Sure aligns with the ideas in the previous thread about how we need more kids going to college, specifically studying math and science.

That looks like a Robocoaster arm for the simulator, no?

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:28 AM

Nothing says family like a military contractor sponsoring a ride at Epcot.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:36 AM

Definitely KUKA's Robocoaster.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 12:00 PM

It is a robocoaster. I've read some reviews. It sounds wicked cool, and I expect it will generate some very nasty waits.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:31 PM

We first need them to effectively study Math and Science in High School Jeff.

Ive posted a link before how the US is already nearing "FAIL" on that.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 2:30 PM

Dj, it's gotta be. Either that or Disney has some other magic up it's sleeve.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 3:40 PM

There was a simulator in Vegas that allowed one to "design" a coaster from track pieces and then ride it. It was about 10 years ago in a hotel on the strip. My son and I designed a coaster and rode it. Pretty cool.

I don't remember the exact location...maybe the MGM Grand? There were car simulators in the same hotel game room where up to 10 people could race against each other and they also had a video guitar game ala Guitar Hero.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 3:46 PM

It was at the Luxor. Those race car simulators were a lot of fun. They used to pick out the person who was winning and show a close up of them driving, so that you could watch the person and game itself at the same time. They showed me on the screen for the whole race a couple times. The virtual spaceship battle game was cool too. I got the high score once and had to try to land the ship at the end of the game, but I crashed. They also had simulators of real coasters.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 3:47 PM

Hopman said:
Dj, it's gotta be. Either that or Disney has some other magic up it's sleeve.

Hmmm....I though a couple years back there was a big stink about Universal having exclusive rights to use the Kuka technology for their rides (Harry Potter). Seemed weird though, since they use them in Legoland already. But those were put in before the Harry Potter announcement. Anybody know better?

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 8:27 PM

A very good video here of the attraction.

http://www.attractionsmagazine.com/blog/2009/10/14/the-sum-of-all-t...eo-photos/

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 9:27 PM

I wonder if they're using Surface for the design interface.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:21 PM

OK Jeff. You got the Job at MS.. We get it.. ;)

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:24 PM

Hahahahaha... no, it's not that. When I first saw it up close I thought it was enormously cool. They just need to let it be a bit less restrictive in terms of licensing and development kits. It's too expensive for most shops to even deploy something, let alone experiment with it.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:42 PM

Raytheon is a big name up here in the Fort Wayne area, so I was surprised to see it used in conjunction with and in a Disney park. Robb Alvey has a few pictures of it, and it does look like the Robocoaster in question.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009 12:51 AM

CPLady said:
There was a simulator in Vegas that allowed one to "design" a coaster from track pieces and then ride it. It was about 10 years ago in a hotel on the strip. My son and I designed a coaster and rode it. Pretty cool...

There was something like that at the mall in Altoona, PA, where I lived about 10 years ago. It was an enclosed ride vehicle that rotated, and that was on an arm that raised and lowered, and tilted up and down. You'd design you coaster, then get in and ride it. It was slightly amusing.

My buddie work at the ride and gave me free rides sometimes. :p

...

The EPCOT ride looks interesting. I'd do it if the line was short. Maybe they should charge for it.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009 6:46 AM

Mike, Raytheon is also pretty big up here in New England too.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009 6:52 AM

Hopman said:
Dj, it's gotta be. Either that or Disney has some other magic up it's sleeve.

Yeah, I'm certain of it. We work closely with KUKA, and I'd recognize their robots anywhere. I've only seen their "regular" robots in person, but the Robocoaster is basically their "regular" robot painted gray, rather than KUKA orange.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009 10:44 AM

I got to ride one at IAAPA back in... gosh, probably 2001 or 2002 or something like that. It's kind of strange, and the only way I can describe it is as if you're on the end of a robot arm. :)

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Thursday, October 15, 2009 12:27 PM

I think that was 2002, but it all kind of runs together at this point.

It was pretty fun, but exactly the way you describe it. I thought it was the coolest damn thing, at first. Now that I look back on it, eh... It was cool twice, but if I don't do it again (sans simulator screen), I don't really care.

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