Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Wheel at ICON Park Orlando adds technology enhancements

The Wheel at ICON Park in Orlando has created an enhanced guest experience with added features and fun.

PHOTO: The Wheel enhancement project team L to R: Engineer Suvrat Jain, Birket Engineering; Engineer Cory Russell, Birket Engineering; Technician John Mendonca, ICON Park; Lead Technician RT Hoffman, ICON Park; Project Manager Ryan Hennessey, Birket Engineering

ICON Park partnered with Birket Engineering to provide The Wheel with new onboard capsule media players, Wheel-mounted inclinometers, upgraded wayside audio controls, and improved network and reliability features.

Engineer Cory Russell at The Wheel ride control

New media players installed onboard each of the 30 capsules receive cues and customizable seasonal and special event audio from the wayside audio system. The audio system includes a programmable logic controller integrating the ride operator interface with communication to each capsule.

New redundant inclinometers measure rotational position of the 400-foot diameter Wheel to within ½-inch accuracy along the Wheel’s circumference. A second controller mounted with the inclinometers communicates Wheel position to the wayside control system and to each capsule’s media player, providing position-specific media content unique to each capsule.

Birket’s custom-designed capsule iPad application and networking protocol allows guests to select media, control capsule audio volume, and play music from their phone over Bluetooth to the capsule sound system.

The Wheel upgrade installation.

ICON Park™ is a 20-acre, walkable entertainment destination in the heart of the Orlando Entertainment District on International Drive and home of The Wheel, a jaw-dropping observation wheel that stands 400 feet (40 stories) in the air. Guests can visit SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Orlando, Orlando StarFlyer, Museum of Illusions, In The Game ICON Park and 7D Motion Theater and many dining options. Visit ICONParkOrlando.com.

Birket Engineering has provided ride & show hardware and software control systems for the world’s best-known attractions since 1984. Visit birket.com.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, CNN.com and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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