switzerland

Showing 10 posts tagged switzerland

Cambridge’s Professor Simon Schaffer presents The Writer, a 240-year-old, 6000 piece machine that was created by Swiss-born watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis, and Jean-Frédéric Leschot around 1770-1772. The automaton can be programmed up to 40 letters or signs, and lives at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Switzerland with two other of Jaquet-Droz’s automata: the drawer and the musician.

The above clip, which you can also find on The Automata Blog in 2006, is from BBC Four’s Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams. Watch it here in its entirety (for now). Great stuff.

In the archives: more automata, including Jaquet-Droz & Leschot’s singing bird boxes.

h/t Boing Boing.

An interactive installation set up in an old wine cellar in Guévaux, Switzerland, Cave aux Bulles (Bubbles’ Cellar) waits for someone to blow bubbles that appear, not as soap bubbles, but as shadows projected on the wall. Project by Joelle Aeschlimann, Pauline Saglio, and Mathieu Rivier.

In the archives: more shadows and a spectacular amount of bubble videos, including giant bubbles, mud bubbles, geometric bubbles, and scientific adventures with 20,000 year old air bubbles.

via The Curious Brain.

An invisible but universal phenomena, huge wingtip vortices can be seen in the twisting fog as this airplane lands in Zurich, Switzerland. Wingtip vortices are strong spirals of air that are created when high pressure air below the wing spills up around the top of the wing, a relatively lower air pressure space, making a small horizontal tornado.

Read more about wingtip vortices and vortex drag at howthingsfly.si.edu.

via Science Demo.

Small, light, and quick, the cheetah-cub robot is a robust little experiment in robotics and biomechanics from EPFL, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, one of two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. From actu.epfl.ch

Even though it doesn’t have a head, you can still tell what kind of animal it is: the robot is definitely modeled upon a cat… The purpose of the platform is to encourage research in biomechanics; its particularity is the design of its legs, which make it very fast and stable… 

The number of segments – three on each leg – and their proportions are the same as they are on a cat. Springs are used to reproduce tendons, and actuators – small motors that convert energy into movement – are used to replace the muscles.

In the future, the stability and speed of this robot could be key attributes for finding people in search and rescue missions or for exploration of rough terrain.

There are more robots being more than just robots in the archives.

Thanks, @cosentino.

While googling about mechanical inventions like Mark Galt’s walking mechanical humans, I happened upon this lovely 1890 piece of restored gears and springs, with the original bellows: a singing bird mechanism. From Colossal:

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: