Water Slide + Ferris Wheel = SlideWheel

This might be German engineering at its funnest. [Wiegand Maelzer GmbH] have created a new type of amusement park ride that combines the thrill of a water slide with the gentle revolutions of a Ferris wheel.

Inspired by the wish of a young Swiss boy in 2012, the whimsical feat of engineering known as the SlideWheel was realized this year. This is isn’t quite the giant sloshing drowning machine it appears to be on first blush, though. It begins and ends at the same shallow pool, where three- and four-person rafts are lifted into the ride by conveyor belt. What happens next is difficult to describe. It’s easier just to watch the first-person video below that demonstrates the pendulum-like motion that comes from floating while rotating.

SlideWheel moves at a modest 3 RPM, though this can be adjusted. Travel speed through the tube maxes out at 40 KPH/ 25 MPH, but will vary depending on the raft’s location, the position of the wheel, and gravity. The ride can handle up to three rafts at a time and delight 720 people per hour. A trip through the tube lasts a mere two minutes, but all those who’ve tried it say the experience seems much longer. [Wiegand Maelzer] have already received a few orders and are working on a dry version for malls and indoor amusement parks.

Not enough of an engineering feat, you say? Here’s a car-juggling robot.

30 thoughts on “Water Slide + Ferris Wheel = SlideWheel

  1. Adapt this to hamsters and rats and all the world round squeeks of pained dismay will curse and decry the inventor for turning 2 feet to the dish into 2 miles! But then again, they won’t be so fat anymore!

  2. I dunno… that looks really boring… You never go faster than about 20Kph, and spend half the time sitting idle waiting for it to rotate around far enough that you can slide around to the next bend. Crank up the rotational speed by 2x or 3x and we might have something worthwhile here…

    1. My thoughts exactly. With normal water slide if the pumps stop you still exit with the water in the system. If the rotation stops you’re stuck and unable to climb out without a rope ladder.

      You hat to put hatches into the system because that adds a failure point, although I suppose they’d be on the ceiling. You could have a backup generator and emergency motor but if there was a bearing or structural problem that doesn’t solve it either.

      1. Backup power solves the most likely problem. If you have to call the rescue squad when there’s a bearing failure, that’s probably rare enough. Look at how roller coasters get stuck once in a while and require that sort of thing. They could engineer that level of problem solving in, but it’s not worth it given how infrequently it would be needed.

        A lot of engineers I talk to (particularly online) have “mission to mars” syndrome. They have a drive to solve every conceivable problem up-front, but most systems can tolerate failure given correct balance of MTBF, MTTR and cost.

  3. “Riders reported the ride seemed to last twice as long…” & “The first is expected to be built in China in 2018…” I love the reports from the future about how the ride is. I’ll just chock it up to the reporter leaving out simulated in the first statement.

  4. The liquid you enter with seems to have the same momentum as you, more or less. Consider that, “Riders reported the ride seemed to last twice as long…” and you have a truly novel experience when one of the four humans on that raft leaks fluids of any kind.

  5. Just watching gave me a headache. I appreciate the creativity, but it has the same level of frustration as an amusement park line. “We’re moving! Oh, we stopped… We’re moving again!”.

  6. this ride looks so cool and promising and makes me want to jump in my car and drive to the scene… on the other hand, what could go wrong with this system… hmmm… don’t like to get stuck (or be forgotten) in this ride. Power failure causing it to stop would be a nasty situation also. Though I’m pretty sure it’s a very safe ride, therefore I was slightly surprised to see the helmets in the prototype run video. But I’m sure it was only for mounting cameras.
    Very creative ride/slide, cool!

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