Testing Cutting-Edge Tech Solutions on the Roller Coaster

At Arello Mobile, we love complex and unconventional tasks and when one of the world’s largest IT companies invited us to take part in developing a new machine learning technology, we gladly took up the challenge.

We were facing a major research task: to teach a machine to guess the peak emotional outbursts. At the same time, the device had to recognize the person’s movements. For instance, the system had to understand that a person does a roll and at 1.5 seconds experiences the maximum emotional shock. Or, if the subject was riding a roller coaster, the system had to pinpoint and record the maximum excitement. The task required some serious out-of-the-box thinking: people react to extreme stimuli very differently, so the system had to be smart enough to figure out what exactly gives them thrills!

And we began. First, we had to give the system a “brain” — a set of algorithmic tools to analyze the input data. To do this properly, we invited neural network gurus from the Sobolev Institute of Mathematics to join our team. In a nutshell, the computer simulates a living organism’s ability to self-learn and correct mistakes. We train the system — and it learns from this experience. Eventually it comes to a point where it has learned so much that it can use this big data to predict the peak of emotions accurately for very different people with different emotional profiles. We tested and rejected a number of hypotheses, did a lot of research with the mathematicians and finally developed a learning algorithm for the system.

Next came training. For four long months, our team performed all sorts of tricks and stunts. We put on body sensors (an accelerometer, gyroscope and heart rate monitor) for motion tracking and, oblivious to freezing Siberian temperatures, jumped and somersaulted in the snow, cycled on snow roads and crashed into snowdrifts — all this to get hold of invaluable data on body parameters at different speeds and movement trajectories. And this is only half the story! When spring came, we migrated to amusement parks, where the most tenacious of our team put their agility and endurance to trial on all sorts of contraptions and attractions. Our brave heroes tested the limits of their vestibular systems, riding, spinning and rolling all day round, — and diligently marking the top-adrenaline moments.

«I’ve never spent that much time on the roller coaster. The part of my job where the code meets the real life is the most rewarding and satisfying”, says Yuri Shmakov, Arello Mobile developer.

All data were transmitted via Bluetooth to a connected Android device with a mobile application that we wrote specifically for the project. These studies provided an extensive knowledge base for the system to learn to efficiently analyze the human state and record the most vivid emotions.

The result of our almost five-month study is a new unique technology based on neural networks. We taught the machine to analyze various types of movements: not just running or walking, but flipping, jumping with rotations and so on. At the same time, the system can accurately determine what the person feels when they are maximally agitated or happy during a particular activity.

These studies spurred the development of modern advanced devices that surround us wherever we go. The industry does not stand still — and we are developing together with the industry. We create more than just business-oriented mobile applications: we create technologies that power the whole IT industry.