Last Friday we successfully toppled 272,297 out of 277,275 dominoes under the theme “Enjoy Your Life” at the Wilhelm-Lückert-Gym in Büdingen. After Wolfgang Naumann started the chain reaction, we immediately broke the world record for the most dominoes toppled in a spiral. Furthermore there were six areas with different motives and mechanisms.
There’s a tiny little plane involved. And pyramids. And pixel-style photos, walls of words, shelves, cascading walls, sliding hats, an aquarium… Really, I could keep going. The video is ten minutes long, which is long, but not as long as the eight days it took 12 builders to set it up!
It’s believed the machine was built 120 years ago in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a well-known maker of bird automata and was recently refurbished by Michael Start over at The House of Automata.
Singing bird boxes were extremely popular in Europe starting from the 18th century, first as a toy for a privileged few and then later as a more affordable item. Watch this video from The British Clockmaker Ray Bates to see how the bird fit in with the box’s innerworkings:
And below, HD video of a singing bird box made by Jaquet-Droz & Leschot, Switzerland circa 1785:
With the BionicOpter, Festo has technically mastered the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly. Just like its model in nature, this ultralight flying object can fly in all directions, hover in mid-air and glide without beating its wings.
In addition to control of the shared flapping frequency and twisting of the individual wings, each of the four wings also features an amplitude controller. The tilt of the wings determines the direction of thrust. Amplitude control allows the intensity of the thrust to be regulated. When combined, the remote-controlled dragonfly can assume almost any position in space.
One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important product from Abraham (1711—1793) and David Roentgen's (1743—1807) workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. Owned by King Frederick William II, the Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size.