Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For a change a short excursus

If less is more: With its X-Bow the motorcycle manufacturer KTM wants to redefine car driving leaving out unnecessary features for much money.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not all window washing baskets are used for washing windows

"On 25 May 1977 George Willig climbed up the facade of the World Trade Center 1 (South Tower, 110 floors, roof at 417 m) from the ground floor to the roof using the window washer tracks. He was fined 1 dollar and 10 cents - one cent per floor."


Monday, March 29, 2010

How actually do hydraulic cranes work?

Hydraulic cranes are very simple by design but can perform Herculean tasks that would otherwise seem impossible.

The hydraulic crane is based on a simple concept -- the transmission of forces from point to point through a fluid. Most hydraulic machines use some sort of incompressible fluid, a fluid that is at its maximum density….

for more information:


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Colour photo of a spreader

Let's start with a small one:

Image source:

This one is a bit more impressive, isn't it?

Image source: Wikimedia

By the way, the largest material handler driven by an operator because it's not automatic due to legal regulations.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

And it's doing nothing else all day

It lifts containers from A to B, is indispensable in ports and harbours and full of technology - it is a spreader ...

as an introduction:

The spreader is a device used for lifting containers and unitized cargo.

The spreader used for containers has a locking mechanism (called twist lock) at each corner that attaches the four corners of the container. A spreader can be used on a container crane, a straddle carrier and at any other machinery to lift containers.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Driverless and flexible

New train for airports

A new train from Siemens makes transport at airports more quickly and flexibly. Airval - that's the name of the fully automated rubber-tired train - reaches a maximum speed of 80 km per hour. The transport capacity can be increased from 1,000 to 30,000 passengers per hour and direction. If more passengers are waiting at the platform, longer trains are provided or the trains run more frequently.

»»» Further information:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

cupolas on churches

For a change the dome of the Dresden Frauenkirche with the cross - thanks to a special crane.

»»» Information:

... and our new topic is... (that's it, lifting)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working in water

Image source: HOCHTIEF AG

With its jack-up platform Odin HOCHTIEF is bracing itself for major maritime projects worldwide: Odin - the platform named after the Nordic God Father - tests its technical skills in rough offshore applications.

To give you a first impression and more information:



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What is a dragline excavator?

Dragline excavation systems are heavy equipment used in civil engineering and surface mining. In civil engineering the smaller types are used for road and port construction. The larger types are used in strip-mining operations to move overburden above coal, and for tar-sand mining. Draglines are amongst the largest mobile equipment (not water-borne), and weigh in the vicinity of 2000 metric tonnes, though specimens weighing up to 13,000 metric tonnes have also been constructed.

A dragline bucket system consists of a large bucket which is suspended from a boom (a large truss-like structure) with wire ropes. The bucket is manoeuvred by means of a number of ropes and chains. The hoist rope, powered by large diesel or electric motors, supports the bucket and hoist-coupler assembly from the boom. The dragrope is used to draw the bucket assembly horizontally. By skillful manoeuvre of the hoist and the dragropes the bucket is controlled for various operations.

»»» Source:

Monday, March 22, 2010

If it's to be a bit more professional

"For 15 years I had been looking for the ideal programming language for robotics. Until I found LabVIEW..."

But what is LabVIEW?

National Instruments launched LabVIEW Robotics 2009, a new version of the graphic system design software providing a standard development platform to design autonomous robot control systems.

»»» More information:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

If somebody wants to make me a present

The perfect present for robot scientists

Nao is the elf-sized, cutting-edge robot every scientist wants for Christmas. He's the most versatile research robot on the market. Antenna checks out his credentials and finds out how scientists lucky enough to have snapped him up are experimenting in the lab...

More information:



Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'd rather build my own little helper

Image source:

With LEGO Mindstorms it's a child's play...

thanks to research it can walk quickly and slowly:

Scientists from Göttingen have developed an autonomous walking robot which can use different gaitsdepending on the situation by means of "chaos control"...


Friday, March 19, 2010

There's something going on in robot town

Image: Gaetan Lee / Science Museum

Are we on the way to robot town? The Science Museum in South Kensington shows what robots are capable of today:


And the site has an interesting blog about other scientific issues and questions as well:


Rover 'Jet 1', 1948 (Science Museum / Science & Society)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Toys for grown-ups

Image source: BBC News

but not what you think...

the alternative way of dealing with demographic change :)

Image source: BBC News


or this:

Image source: Science Museum


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Robot etiquette

Robots have feelings as well...



The South Korean government is preparing a “Robot Ethics Charter” to guide future interactions with our robotic friends...

Image: BBC News

»»» The BBC also took a look at the problem...

The South Korean government has identified robotics as a key economic driver and is pumping millions of dollars into research.

"The government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future," the ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A future for 'brainy robots'?

Here's something regarding this question:


Image: Volker Steger/Science Photo Library

Some scientists think robots like Gordon will be everywhere in the future. 'Integrating a biological brain into a robot is an enormous step that opens up a whole new area for robotics and artificial intelligence,' says Kevin Warwick.

Other robot experts believe that keeping brain tissue alive for long periods is too tricky. 'It's an interesting idea, but I think it's more likely that effort will go into making better artificial brains,' says Murray Shanahan.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Robots with a brain

Image: Diem Photography/University of Reading

... as intelligent as a common rat - or: Intelligence is hard to copy.


Gordon is a very special robot. Controlled by a dish full of rats' brain cells, he's helping scientists to understand how our brains work. Antenna explores the science behind Gordon, what he might tell us about the brain, and what his creation could mean for the future of robotics...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

From excavators to controllers

Because every excavator needs one...

The Brain (image source Wikimedia)

Introduction: The very first controller was...


"The human brain is the center of the human nervous system and is a highly complex organ. Enclosed in the cranium, it has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times as large as the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size."

»»» If you want to know more.

...if you like controllers, you should love the human brain :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I would sometimes like to have this

Do you think that would be possible?

Machine for studying several books at once, 1588.

A beautiful and ingenious machine, very useful and convenient for anyone who takes pleasure in study, especially those who are indisposed and tormented by gout. For with this machine a man can see and turn through a large number of books without moving from one spot.

»»» Source:

Friday, March 12, 2010

I am not alone

Other grown-ups also 'play' with Lego...

and have the one or other problem...


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Looks like I was a bit hasty...

For a better understanding: Lego Mindstorms is the name of a product series by the toy manufacturer Lego, containing a programmable Lego brick (RCX = Robotics Command system, or NXT) as well as electric motors, sensors and Lego Technic components (toothed wheels, axes, hole beams, pneumatic parts, etc.) to design and program robots and other autonomous and interactive systems.

Ok, though I'm not a child anymore:

Image source:

... well, ok, this is not mine...

but this is what it could look like :)

... not at all childish, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My home is my castle...

... and finally I can pursue my hobby again.

Image source:


Monday, March 8, 2010

Video of the 2010 Geneva motor show

“That’s it,“ declared one loud-voiced onlooker in the early-morning crowd surrounding the Porsche stand. “We’ve seen the show star; now we can go home.”

It was barely breakfast time on the first of the 80th Geneva motor show’s two preview days, but Porsche’s magnificent new 918 Spyder looked so beautiful and desirable - and so close to reality - that it seemed highly unlikely anyone else was going produce a car to trump it. And no one did.

»»» Source:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Exotic vehicles in Geneva

Every time I am fascinated by the special cars which are build only in a small series or as an individual item; here are some examples:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Excursion: Geneva Show 2010

Porsche 918 Spyder Concepts Hybrid

If you're a lover of high-end machinery designed for ultimate driving fun, three of your favoured marques could well be Ferrari, Porsche and Lotus. None of these three is a name you would immediately associate with the green-tinged motoring that our legislators would like to force upon us but, at the Geneva show, all three revealed cars designed specifically to tackle environmental sensibilities head-on.

»»» Source:

Lotus Evora 414E

Friday, March 5, 2010

Elektor’s DIY self-balancing vehicle

I found an interesting magazine: ELEKTOR

Everyone agrees; the internal combustion engine is coming to the end of its life cycle. However you don’t need to go to the expense of a Prius or Tesla to experience the future of transportation devices. If you would prefer something more personal (and don’t mind turning a few heads) why not build the astonishing ElektorWheelie? First take two electric motors, two rechargeable batteries and two sensors, now add two microcontrollers and the ElektorWheelie is ready to transport you in style to your destination.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

It is winter

...admittedly: a bit too long, but I still love the snow... outside my window, winter road maintenance is dealing with the iced-over street.

Pretty impressive, these gritters with their huge shovels, don't you think?


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Metropolis returns

The world premiere of the restored version of METROPOLIS in Frankfurt and Berlin brings back to the screen the original version of the monumental silent film classic which for decades was considered to be lost.


Metropolis is a 1927 silent science fiction film directed by Fritz Lang and written by Lang and Thea von Harbou.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Transformers vs. Metropolis

Ok, this is pretty obvious - Transformers...


»»» Further information on Wikipedia

... view back into the past:

The sensational news headline two years ago: Lost parts of Fritz Lang's film "Metropolis" found. The parts have been restored and the film completed at Wiesbaden's Murnaustiftung since then.

»»» Source:

Monday, March 1, 2010

What is this guy talking about?

(Picture by

''I've thought more about robots in a year and a half than probably anybody,'' sighs Michael ???. Slouched in his chair, a gentle breeze wafting through his surprisingly zen Santa Monica, Calif., office, he's still hung over from the previous evening's mega-premiere of his latest summer-action extravaganza, ???— the movie adaptation of the 1980s cartoon TV series and Hasbro toy line about a race of alien machines who bring their war to Earth. (He may be doing more celebrating after seeing the estimated $36.3 million in box-office revenue from the movie's first 36 hours in theatres, including $27.5 million on July 3, its first full day of release, a new record for a Tuesday opening.)”

»»» Source: