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Coconut Run Physics Fun

Here’s an interesting diversion that Johnson Controls posted on their web site recently… It’s borderline being a game, but it’s a great engineering and physics exercise for both parents and kids.  It unfortunately just killed an hour of time that I should have been working on the mean/median worksheets here.

Coconut Run Physics Simulation
[Alas, the Coconut Run game appears to be no more… If someone has a new link, please leave a comment!]

The object of the game is to build a small powered cart that moves coconuts across a primitive obstacle coarse. It appears to be a fairly accurate physics simulation, which makes for some very interesting tinkering. It’s too bad they didn’t provide a few more hints for design, but here are a few shortcuts…

  • Coconuts shifting their mass around in the cart is bad. If your cart captures the coconuts so they don’t bounce around, the cart will be much more stable.
  • A low/wide center of gravity helps prevent your cart from tipping over.  Try to collect the coconuts near the bottom of your design.
  • More parts means more mass which means poor acceleration.
  • Smaller wheels tend to get stuck in things, but bigger wheels tend to add mass.
  • You can actually make your cart quite wide by drawing parts out across where the tool palette is placed on the screen. This will let you put a long forward arm with a wheel on it to help prevent the cart from tipping.

I managed a 63% efficiency score [UPDATE:89%!!] by moving all 15 coconuts to the end in just under a minute. Time invested purely in the name of research, obviously. Enjoy!


  1. You’re lucky that you only lost an hour. Our son just lost an entire day to Coconut Run. The good news is that he has natural engineering abilities; the bad news is that he now knows where the game is located on and he will not quit until he gets a 100% rating. I wish he had the same ambition toward his homework.

    (He achieved a 92% rating. You’d think he just harnessed cold fusion. I got 4%. Darn smartypants kids.)

    Comment by Carol — May 23, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  2. well Carol bad news for your son
    the game is officialy gone
    i cant find it anywhere, and johnson controls have seemed to erase it

    Comment by Tyler — March 20, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  3. its true it has just vanished im so sad 🙁 i loved this game

    Comment by sad coconut man — March 23, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  4. the game will be back up soon

    Comment by andrew — March 31, 2010 @ 8:30 am

  5. please come back coconut run 🙁

    Comment by sad coconut man — July 17, 2010 @ 4:23 am

  6. basically 2 years after johnson controls said the game will be back up shortly and still nothing?
    Looks like it will never happen

    Comment by chris — December 3, 2011 @ 2:11 am

  7. I love the game, and im glad there is a mirror to play it again. I got the coconuts to the end in 15 seconds and got a 99% efficiency 😀

    Comment by Cj — August 1, 2013 @ 5:45 am

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