There's no better season to twist and turn, go upside and plummet almost to the ground on a roller coaster than the summer.
Nowadays, roller coasters aren’t the rickety thrill rides they used to be. Newer ones are backed by dynamic, advanced computer systems – and as the tech world speeds up, so does the intensity of the rides.
In fact, Japan is introducing on Saturday (July 16) the world’s steepest coaster at Fuji-Q Highland amusement park called Takabisha – which means "domineering" in Japanese – and will toss riders down 141 feet at about 62 miles an hour, with a 121-degree free fall.
With the summer in full speed, TechNewsDaily takes a look at other impressive high-tech coasters that are giving amusement park goers across the globe the ride of their life.
Formula Rossa; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is the world's fastest roller coaster, reaching an incredible speed of 150 mph. Riders sit within two Ferrari F430 Spider vehicles sprint side by side toward the finish line. With the help of a hydraulic launch system, the GT roller coaster creates a similar velocity to what’s needed to catapult fighter jets off airport carriers. Since it goes so fast, those brave enough to sit in the front have to wear protective glasses -- similar to what skydivers wear - to prevent run-ins with airborne particles and insects. The shape of the track was inspired by the famous Italian racetrack Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit; Orlando, Fla.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios in Orlando was not just built with advanced technology, it’s infused into every second of the ride. Blending user-generated content with high-speed trains, riders pick their own music using touchpads mounted on the lap bar. Songs from five music genres are pumped through individual sound systems that rely on all-weather speakers typically reserved for high-performance sports boats.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is also the only coaster in the world with daytime LED color-changing light s, with each ride vehicle featuring 36 different lights programmed to change color. The ride also operates on a moving load platform, which means it uses a people-mover-style conveyer belt to get guests to their vehicles so riders and vehicles never come to a complete stop.
To remember the experience, the ride features 14 cameras – six on-board each ride vehicle and eight along the track – and lasers that trigger timing devices and computers to record and capture the thrill for riders. The video – which is then synced with their music selection – is downloaded wirelessly from the ride vehicle to a viewing kiosk in 25 seconds, where people can purchase the edited version.
The Skycycle; Okayama, Japan
The Skycycle roller coaster at Washuzan Highland Park in Okayama, Japan may not have upside down loops and past-vertical drops, but that doesn't mean it's not terrifying. Riders board side-by-side carts that rely on old fashion foot-powered tech. That's right, the carts move by pedaling your way along the track – taking roller coasters to a whole new green level.
Kingda Ka; Jackson, New Jersey
Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey was the world’s fastest roller coaster until Formula Rossa opened last year. It's still the fastest in North America. Kingda Ka is launched by a hydraulic launch mechanism that makes it fly 128 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds, catapulting riders a whopping 45 stories in the air before plunging them vertically into a 270-degree spiral.
Fahrenheit 97; Hershey Park, Pa.
This steel roller coaster at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania covers more than 2,700 feet of track in just 85 seconds and features a steep 97-degree drop. The ride flies at acceleration of 4G, which is more than astronauts undergo at the launch of a space shuttle mission. Fahrenheit 97 was designed with high-tech engineering tools, state-of-the art computers and materials such as carbon-fiber, which reduced the pressure on support structures and allowed designers to get creative with design. The software Fahrenheit 97 uses is also used by some companies such as Boeing to build planes.
To test the roller coaster before it debuted in 2008, a crash test dummy named Fred – which is flown nationwide to test various roller coasters – was used to determine whether or not Farenheit 97 intensity was safe for riders. Fred is armed with sensors that measure and record neck movement and provide designers with information about safety.
Eejanaika; Fuji-Q Highland
The Eejanaika roller coaster – which is also located at Fuji-Q Highland park in Japan – is the world’s second-ever steel 4-D roller coaster behind X at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California. The 4-D roller coaster features a sleek design that allows the seats to rotate forward and backward up to 360-degrees while in a spin. To do so, there are four rails on the track – two are for running rails and two are for spin control. The Guinness Book of World Records states that it has the most inversions (14) in the world.