#627: ChaosCart

Think about a magnet on a pendulum suspended between three or more magnets (with a mixture of the same and opposite polarities). Release the pendulum and it will fly around, being attracted to and repelled from the various fixed magnets. If you choose the arrangement of magnets carefully, the deterministic, but chaotic, motion will rarely be repeated (given the impossibility of starting from exactly the same spot, each time).

Today’s invention is to use this system to plan and drive a funfair ride. A cart containing a small number of people would be driven on a concave, spherical surface in such a way as to simply follow the pendulum’s motion. The relevant (x,y) coordinate of the bob, extracted by rapid image processing from below, would be used to direct the cart.

In this way, ride customers could be sure of always having an unpredictable experience. In fact, for safety reasons, the (X,Y)s could be gathered offline in order to ensure that no dangerous levels of acceleration occur on the actual ride.

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