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Has Universal Solved the “Cell Phones on the Ride” Problem?

Has Universal Solved the “Cell Phones on the Ride” Problem?

Has Universal Solved the “Cell Phones on the Ride” Problem?

Has Universal Solved the “Cell Phones on the Ride” Problem?

October 21, 2022, 4:07 pm · For nearly two decades, theme parks have struggled to prevent visitors from losing their cell phones on exciting rides. No one wants to see a cell phone fly on a roller coaster – most people in the phone path, who are now at risk of getting injured from being shocked.

This is why most parks forbid visitors to carry phones and other loose items while riding at high speed or intense riding, such as roller coasters. Some parks make you keep your things in your pocket, others provide storage bins at the station, and some make you empty your pockets and stash everything in the locker before letting you into the queue.

However, people manage to find ways to bring phones while riding…and these phones sometimes fly.

A new patent application from Universal Theme Parks signals a change in approach. Instead of trying to keep phones off the ride completely, why not put a secure system on the ride vehicles to accommodate those phones?

In one app titles, “System and Methods for Carrying and Charging a Personal Electronic Device on a Ride-On Vehicle,” Universal suggests a way to do this. And yes, as the title of the patent application suggests, the Universal system will charge your phone while you’re riding, too.

Riders would put their phones in a locked case, attached to the ride carriage — one that includes a connection to charge the phone while riding. Passengers can access the phone’s camera to record video or photos while riding, but the phone will be secured by the lock case while driving.

Universal phone case patent application
Locked phone case, from Universal . patent application

With the phone connected to the ride vehicle, you can also use your phone’s screen to select an audio track to play during the ride or to control a feature of the ride vehicle or the environment around the ride vehicle.

schematic
How would the proposed system work
system in action
system in action

In short – you and your friends and family will get the same kind of system that working journalists like me enjoy on media days, when the parks install a safe and secure onboard camera system to record us on the opening day of the flight.

Furthermore, this system can enable the next generation of the Rip, Ride, Rockit experience, or even extend to allow pairing of mobile-based multiplayer games into a practical riding environment, by using riders’ phones to control what happens on the ride itself.

Universal and Disney are filing a lot of patent applications as they work to expand what is technically possible at theme park attractions. But this app made me more interesting and interesting than many apps I’ve seen. I can’t wait to see what Universal does with this. (Can this dragon in the illustration above offer a hint?)

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