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Homemade thrill ride speeds up if you're not scared enough

An artist's 23-foot-high "Neurotransmitter 3000" responds to his biometrics.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
April 10, 2017
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Daniel de Bruin

Roller coasters don't care how scared you are, they always follow their pre-programmed circuit to a "T." That gave Dutch artist Daniel de Bruin an idea: What if a ride could measure your fear and amp up the thrills based on that? Since he's also a designer, he decided to find out by building the Neurotransmitter 3000, a 7-meter (23 foot) high steampunk-looking ride that speeds up or slows down depending on your heart rate, body temperature and muscle tension.

To start the ride, de Bruin straps himself in the machine with three locking systems for safety (we're not sure anyone else is allowed to risk it). Three sensors are then placed on his arm, wrist and ear that measure muscular tension, heart rate and temperature. He also also has control over the chair's rotational speed with a handbrake.

The ride starts slowly but increases depending on de Bruin's comfort level. It will stop altogether if your heart rate hits 130 beats per minute (bpm) or muscle tension reaches a certain threshold, but can go as fast as one rotation per second if you're cool with it all.

In other words, it's a continuous feedback loop -- the ride will speed up if you're not scared, but if the increased motion is too exciting, your vital signs will force the ride to slow down again. "The desire to be part of the things that I make has driven me to build the Neurotransmitter 3000," de Bruin told Fontanel last year. "It will respond to my body and my body to it."

de Bruin started the project as part of his graduate work at HKU University in Utrecht, Netherlands, and finished it in collaboration with the STRP.nl Biennial 2017, a week long exhibition of interactive installations. To see just how insane this thing is, check out the Fontanel post that features photos of it under construction.

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