human gyroscope machine and g-force
February 12, 2008 12:26 PM   Subscribe

What's the g-force exerted on a person in a human gyroscope machine?

Trying to figure out what physiological (if any) would occur to a person within one of those amusement park human gyroscope machines.
posted by siouxzie-suz to Science & Nature (10 answers total)
What part of your body? At your center of gravity, there is no additional g-force. At your extremities, the spinning would contribute some.

That said, they don't go very fast, and I can't imagine that they're adding more than one or two Gs, at most.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:34 PM on February 12, 2008

Depends on how fast they spin, no?
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:38 PM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: I would definitely want measurements at the extremities. I guess what I'm really trying to understand is adding 1 or 2 gs (equivalent of being in one of those machines) would impair your motor skills in any shape or form.
Thanks for your input!!
posted by siouxzie-suz at 12:38 PM on February 12, 2008

One of these? 4g, if Wikipedia is to be believed. Although it looks like chrisamiller is envisioning a different sort of ride, one I may not be familiar with.

If you know the radius of the ride and its speed (either linear or angular), you can calculate the centripetal force.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:40 PM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: I was envisioning a different contraption. More like the thing shown on this site.

posted by siouxzie-suz at 12:53 PM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster:

oops. sorry
posted by siouxzie-suz at 12:54 PM on February 12, 2008

DA, I think the poster is referring to one of these machines

From Wikipedia: Amusement park rides such as roller coasters typically do not expose the occupants to much more than about 3 g

There's no way those things, under typical usage, add as much as a roller coaster. I know there's been lots of research done on high-G (air force) and low-to-zero g (NASA), but I can't find much on slightly increased Gs.

Here are some educated guesses:

- Blood is being pulled to the extremities by the rotation, so your heart rate will probably increase and blood pressure should go up in order to keep things circulating.

- From Wikipedia: a typical person can handle about 5 g (50m/s²) before g-loc'ing
I don't see blacking out or vision loss being a problem.

- The constant changes of speed and direction will probably mess with your vestibular system, possibly leading to symptoms similar to sea-sickness. I'm not sure if the body would gain tolerance to this (as sailors do) or not.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:56 PM on February 12, 2008

If you want to know how one g would feel to you, say from behind (ie pushing you forward), lie down. There that is one g you are feeling pushing you up. As for physiological reactions, if that happened to me, I would fall asleep, but I have just had a kid.
posted by d4nj450n at 12:56 PM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Having tried similar stuff in the past, your motor skills are impaired slightly, but it's more the disorientation that screws with you. It's slightly harder to move your hand to a switch on a panel (force-wise), but focusing on that switch and getting your hand to it and not the one next to it is the hard part.
posted by pupdog at 1:07 PM on February 12, 2008

siouxzie-suz: If you can provide an estimate of the speed of rotation (i.e. how many times it spins around per second or something similar), it won't be hard to calculate the the g-force at an average person's head (or at your head, if you provide your height). However, the physiological effects probably aren't really comparable to those due to a constant force acting on the whole body, for the reasons chrisamiller notes above.
posted by ssg at 1:28 PM on February 12, 2008

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