Thorpe Park's latest attraction, The Walking Dead: The Ride, will use riders' screams and the ride's kinetic energy to charge guests' mobile phones.
The technology used to harvest the energy was developed by researchers at London's Queen Mary University who paired up with Thorpe Park staff to generate free electricity which will be used for charging phones around the park.
The vast majority of electricity will be produced by kinetic energy from the ride's vibrations; the riders' screams will also be collected. The intensity of the screams recorded will be displayed using a collection of red LED lights. Mobile charger units around the site will be powered by the energy produced and made available for visitors to use. However scary the ride, it is doubtful that the energy produced by screams will contribute much beyond a few scary flashing lights, though.
Thorpe Park in Surrey is the second biggest amusement park in the UK, after Alton Towers. The new roller coaster will be an indoor ride, with riders immersed in a terrifying zombie experience as they struggle to to make it to the 'Safe Zone'.
The inventor of the ride, John Burton, said in an interview with The Mirror: "The Walking Dead: The Ride is 15 out of 10 on the scare factor scale, so it makes sense to be able to combine and harness our visitors' screams and the ride's vibrations to help solve a problem each and every one of us faces; losing the charge on our mobiles when we're on a day out."
Dr Joe Briscoe of the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University said energy harvesting is becoming increasingly common.
"Using vibrations and movement from The Walking Dead: The Ride has allowed us to harness the stray energy that is all around us," he said.
"This is an exciting concept that will undoubtedly be used more frequently in the future. The system uses a mini energy harvester to capture the kinetic energy, transferring it to a separate electrical circuit and storage unit, which is enough to charge a mobile phone."
The technology will be tested for three months after the new ride opens during the Easter holidays. If succesful it may be rolled out to other rides.
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