Miniatur Wunderland in 5 Minutes

Miniatur Wunderland (German for miniature wonderland) is a model railway attraction in Hamburg, Germany and the largest of its kind in the world. As of January 2011, the railway consists of 12,000 meters (39,370 ft) of track in HO scale, divided into seven sections: Harz, the fictitious city of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, and Switzerland. Of the 6,400 square meters (68,889 sq ft) of floorspace, the model takes 1,150 m2 (12,378 sq ft).

By 2020, the exhibit is expected to have reached its final construction phase, including at least a total of ten sections in a model area of over 2,300 m2 (24,757 sq ft). The next section covering an airport opened in May 2011. The exhibit includes 890 trains made up of over 11,000 carriages, 300,000 lights, 215,000 trees, and 200,000 human figurines. The creators will work on models of Italy and France now that the airport section is completed. The airport is named Knuffingen International Airport and is modeled after Hamburg International Airport. Possible future additions include Africa, England, or a futuristic landscape.

To find out more, please visit: Miniatur Wunderland

Next-Generation Spinning Top Game Uses Table-Top Display and Tactile Feedback

Utilizing a tabletop display and controller, a team from the University of Electro-Communications have enhanced the fun of ordinary spinning top games through the addition of visual, audio and tactile feedback.

The system allows users to manipulate the speed of the tops by placing the controller above them and when two tops collide, the strength of the impact is delivered through the controller to the user via a mild vibration, much like modern day console gaming joysticks.

Here are some quotes from the company responsible for the interactive spinning top game that tell you a bit more about its development and the inspiration behind some of the features:

  • “The tops contain permanent magnets, and the handheld device contains an electromagnet. The principle is the same as that of a motor, but the poles of the coil are switched very fast, without coming into contact with the top. In this way, the magnetic force makes the top spin and move at the same time.”
  • “To track several objects that are moving or spinning very fast, simultaneously in real time, conventional systems use markers and QR codes. But this system doesn’t use things like that, so the image processing load is much lighter. This enables the system to track faster objects. We think this technology could have a variety of applications.”
  • “When you spin an actual top, if you touch it, it stops. But you can feel physical phenomena like gyro effects if you place a top on your hand or if you touch it. We think that’s really interesting. So we’ve created this system to sustain that experience, letting you feel the forces in a top without touching it, and experience the interplay of forces.”

Sources: Digital Content Expo 2011 & DigInfo.TV