Thrilling science

An exhibit at London's Dana Centre uses fairground rides to explore the biology of excitement

Stephen Pincock
Oct 26, 2006
Fear, horror and perhaps a little nausea are making science headlines in London this month, with visitors to the Dana Centre at the city's Science Museum being offered a chance to jump aboard some fairground rides and explore the biology of thrills.The randomly selected participants, who must be over the age of 18, are equipped with monitoring equipment designed by the UK firm Health-Smart. Contained within a high-tech vest is a miniature electro-encephalograph (EEG) measuring about one square inch, and an accelerometer for gauging the movement of the ride. A helmet-mounted video camera records the participants' facial reactions.The images and data are then beamed wirelessly onto a giant screen behind the ride to be viewed by the rest of the museum visitors and analysed by experts of many stripes, including the UK's only space flight surgeon, psychologists, and Dan Howland, editor of the eccentric online publication The Journal of...