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Thrill Laboratory at Alton Towers

Park News
Tuesday, 24th April 2007 By Dan Ketteringham

The park are considering holding an event in September involving a "Thrill Experiment" on one of the scariest roller coasters, Oblivion.

Brendan Walker's Thrill Laboratory specialises in looking into the science behind thrill, and they have previously conducted experiments on fairground rides. Now, Thrill Engineer Walker and his team of Thrill Technicians are considering coming to Alton Towers to find out just what happens when guests subject themselves to Oblivion's vertical drop, at speeds of up to 60mph.

If the event goes ahead, Thrill Laboratory will work with groups of riders and subject them to an array of probing explorations. Each group of riders could expect to be given an unusual insight into their own psyche - and perhaps that of the Thrill Technicians too. The experiment would probe the interaction between Oblivion's design, its riders, and their emotional experiences.

Each rider would be subjected to Physiological Monitoring (a specially developed telemetry system using a head-cam to video their facial expressions, linked to a heart rate monitor and a G-force sensor), Psycho-geographic Mapping (a therapy session to analyse their emotional journey), and Psychological and Sociological Profiling (an assessment of the rider's ability to be thrilled, using the Zuckerman Thrill and Adventure Seeking Test). Each rider would also be the subject of Participatory Observation (creating an audio diary of their ride), and Anthropometric Measurement (taking photographs and measurements of their body).

During each session, the group would have time to view and discuss their data, which would feature video projections of their Physiological Monitoring and Participatory Observation (particularly for the amusement of other riders and Laboratory Technicians). At the end of each day there would be a public exhibition of all the results, with video projections, where you would be invited to quiz Brendan and his team over snacks and drinks.

The idea is that Oblivion would stay open to the public during the event, with those participating in the Thrill Experiment paying a fee (as yet unknown) to get involved.

Now, here's where you come in - at the moment the event is not yet confirmed, and the park would like to get an idea of interest levels to help them decide whether to go ahead with it or not. To that end, we've set up a poll to find out your opinions, where you can also see some footage from a previous Thrill Experiment at the Dana Centre in London.

So what are you waiting for? Go and register your vote!


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