20 Mar Engineers
- Event Design Awards – Silver Award for Best Museum Environment
Not all museum exhibits are created equally—especially when we get our grubby mits on them. The engineering that went into our Ski Experience exhibit at the Alf Engen Ski Museum is a not-so-humble reminder of how we can, on occasion, impress even ourselves.
Aside from the obvious (you know, building a motion base ride the size of a car) this project has many smaller engineering feats working behind the scenes. Our unrivaled team engineered and built a series of custom electronic circuits that control everything from the snow machine to the safety mechanisms in place.
Detailed here is a system of sensors we integrated into the experience to ensure the safety of museum patrons despite their absolute resolve to maim themselves by any means necessary.
We utilized a closed-loop system to detect and respond to an array of sensor states—all of which are constantly monitored during the ride’s operation. Each seat belt is electronically monitored to ensure they remain buckled while the lap bar’s position is tracked to ensure it stays in the lowered position. Thermal sensors monitor the stairs leading to the platform and detect if they are used or if someone bypasses the gate. If any of these states change the ride immediately ends and the motion base returns to its home position.
But before the ride can even begin we rely on a low-power laser which projects crosshairs onto the motion base platform ensuring a perfect calibration. Hall Effect sensors paired with our 3D printed magnetic enclosures detect the state of the gate and provide feedback to the system. Once all checks are clear we use an electronic strike to secure the gate from those waiting in line.
All of these sensors run concurrently and provide response times measured in milliseconds to ensure everything runs safely. And for those talented enough to still trigger a warning we have a slew of annoying voice-overs we employ for their public shaming.