Human Pinball riding on PC/ISA/STEbus

A water theme park in North Shields has recently adapted one of its flume rides, transforming the flume rider into a virtual pinball with real time interaction!

Pressure pads and sensors have been installed on the ride, with software from Orchard plus Arcom’s PC/ISAbus I/O cards, a protected PC, embedded controller and STEbus CPU and cards.

Riders travel down the water chute, and pads randomly illuminate via LED arrays. The object is to hit as many green pads while avoiding the red – and travelling as fast as possible. A score is calculated and displayed as soon as the rider exits the tube.

So, how’s it done? Phil Martin, the Wet’n’Wild engineer, chose Arcom’s PC/ISAbus 40-channel I/O boards for data collection from the stop-start circuitry, sensors and hit-pads. A PC has been mounted in a protected cabinet with the digital I/O cards for data collection. Custom software controls the operation of the ride, also processing pad signals and calculating scores and timing.

Data is passed via RS232 to an Arcom embedded controller in the flume Pinball display – an STEbus-based 188EB CPU with a pair of STE digital I/O boards on a passive backplane. This handles the seven segment display driver.

Craig Grove of Orchard wrote the interface in Borland C++ and commissioned the software very quickly. Using an Arcom source level debugger, he was able to simulate the code from his own office before commissioning.

Arcom Control Systems, Tel: 01223 411200; Fax: 410457.

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