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Epcot Ride Gives Kids A Math Thrill

What do mathematics and amusement park rides have in common? Raytheon is combining the two for its new Sum of all Thrills ride, located within the INNOVENTIONS section of Epcot. The new ride lets park guests custom design their own ride using mathematical tools, a touch-screen table and a robotic simulator. Guests choose a ride theme-it could be a roller coaster, bobsled or jet plane-and using a multitouch interface and instructions available in six languages, they experiment with math and engineering tools like rulers and speed dials to custom design their own ride, complete with corkscrews, inversions, even steep hills.
As they delve into their intense design work, visitors are being exposed to critical engineering and math principles to calculate, for example, how much energy is needed for a jet to take off or what type of power is necessary to propel the roller coaster or bobsled to make it up its first climb. That, Raytheon officials say, is the primary mission of the Sum of all Thrills:  Using innovation to encourage students to develop an interest in math and science.

Once a visitor’s ride design is finished, it is saved on a personal card with a unique bar code. That card is then used in the robotic KUKA RoboSim 4-D simulator, which delivers immersive high-def video, stereo sound and controlled air motion to give visitors the complete sensory experience of their custom-designed ride. The KUKA RoboSim 4-D simulator creates a four-dimensional, more realistic simulation experience through 3-D robotic motion and “wind” that controls air movement to stimulate the senses.

For those not visiting Epcot in the near future, Raytheon also unveiled a virtual Sum of all Thrills experience, which guides students to answer math-related questions to unlock the elements used to build their own ride.


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