By Laura Shin
Posting in Science
Watch a pool table that stays level while the ship around it heaves up and down. The secret to its steady nature is also crucial to technology such as the Hubble telescope.
If you were on a boat, trying to play pool, you would imagine that the balls would all go rolling to one side of the table with each passing wave.
But the first self-leveling pool table at sea keeps all the balls level as the ship heaves up and down all around it.
The table, available on the Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas, uses a gyroscope to stay steady despite the ship's undulation.
Gyroscopes are known for their ability to keep a fixed orientation no matter what motion is occurring to the platform on which it is mounted. They are often used where magnetic compasses do not work, such as in the Hubble telescope, to stabilize flying objects such as radio-controlled helicopters and for precision, to ensure that rockets and missiles reach their target.
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Wouldn't it be better to compensate for motion under the entire floor area in both axis'? You need to compensate for roll movement in all directions but if the players are moving relative to the boat then then lining up shots etc will still be hit and miss (pun intended). Make me one where a surrounding area of the entire floor is gyroscopically interested and that will be much better.
Okay, I was a pool instructor on board the ship using this table and here is the scoop. (The equipment was really poor, with most of the cues having no tips and crooked and damaged. I let people play with the three i brought and we bought some cheap tips onshore a few days after we left port0. The table is "sideways" and aligned with the boat so that the motion in one plane is negligible. It is the rolling motion, side-to-side, that is affected by the gyro. The electronics worked some of the time, and sometimes it seemed to set itself as "permanently crooked" until it was reset. There was no simple way to do that. They had two of them when I was on board and they do NOT level and would NOT sustain levelness, but for a pool table on a ship, it was okay.About what one would expect. I would hope that the cruise ship staff would take better care of the equipment and the electronics could be improved to help it work. If you got "game," do not expect to much based on my experiences. Bring your own cue but plan on working out in the exercise room or sitting on deck rather than "playing pool."
The TABLE has great stability and you can easily see the balls do not react to the vessels motion. However, the people - since they are not stability compensated - are moving in relation to the table and therefore the shots they take will lack when compared to a shore based table. Given the choices, IF you really have the need for pool while at sea then I guess this is the way to go.