By Nick Statt
Posted 10.03.2011 at 10:00 am 8 Comments
The 190-foot-tall whirling aerial swing in the Wunderland Kalkar amusement park, near the German-Dutch border, claims an unusual distinction: It’s the only ride in the world constructed in a decommissioned nuclear cooling tower. (You can read our primer on nuclear power plants here.) In 1995, Dutch developer Hennie van der Most bought the defunct nuclear power plant from the German government.
Last week, I visited Solingen, Germany's "city of blades," where knives, swords, and the like have been made for centuries. In between sipping beers and munching wursts, I paid a visit to the factory of Zwilling J.A. Henckels, at their kind invitation, to peer at the semi-roboticized lines where they produce their knives.
Our favorite robot is learning to shop for, prepare and serve entire meals — from cookies to a round of beers and now, breakfast. In this latest robot-cook experiment, PR2 gets some help from a German ‘bot named Rosie, and the pair serves up a traditional Bavarian sausage breakfast.
A team in Germany have managed to modify a car so that it can be driven with Emotiv's electroencephalography tool, which allows a user to control something--be it a video game or a Volkswagen Passat--with only the power of the mind. Of particular note is the warning embedded in the video: Do not try this at home. Especially not in your regular, unmodified car.
Opting out of Google Maps’ Street View in Germany will blur the image of your building on the photographic map, and make you hideously uncool. So says a group of vandals who egged homes in Essen that appear pixelated on the search engine’s map, leaving notes that say “Google’s cool” (in English) on the privacy-lovers’ doors and mailboxes.
Bavarian beer purveyors concerned about a smelly Oktoberfest are hoping bacteria can make the experience more enjoyable. They plan to pour a solution of live bacteria on the floors of Munich's beer tents, in an effort to knock out the inevitable festival smells usually covered up by a fog of cigarette smoke.
As the aerospace world prepares to say goodbye to the space shuttles, engineers are looking for cheaper, faster replacements. The German space agency is apparently ahead of the game, announcing a retro-looking multi-faceted design late last week.
The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) is developing a heat-resistant, 8-sided rocket that can re-enter the atmosphere without breaking up or suffering much damage, according to The Local. It would be the only rocket capable of guiding itself home.
A young German guy has a detailed Instructable online this week that explains how you can exercise your inner narcissist and make a 3-D paper clone of yourself.
It's worth checking out if for no other reason than user ddi7i4d's wry sense of humor -- "Welcome to the chamber of paper and glue, Frankenstein Junior," he says by way of introduction. The last page includes suggestions for what to do with your new cardboard buddy.
Environmental monitoring has come a long way since the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Now we use bees.
Airports in Germany are using honeybees as "biodetectives," regularly testing their honey for a suite of pollutants, the New York Timesreports. This year's first tests were conducted in early June at Düsseldorf International Airport, and the bees got a clean bill of health. That means the air was clean, too.
There is a specter haunting Europe. Nope, not that one, but several European nations have expressed concern about Google’s slow but steady encroachment on citizens’ privacy protections. Now the search behemoth is in hot water with Germans for using its wandering Street View cars to log the location of private WLAN networks and media access control (MAC) addresses in that country.
The screws used by doctors to repair broken bones and torn ligaments enable recovery from a wide range of injuries. Unfortunately, they also leave holes in bones, require secondary surgery for removal, and make going through airport security a real pain. But by crafting the screws from a special designed composite of polymer and mineral, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have managed to solve all those problems in one fell swoop.
Privacy-loving Americans have roundly rejected the idea of implanting microchips within their bodies, but one in four Germans is enthusiastic about the idea of having a chip implanted as long as there are tangible benefits involved. Those benefits don’t even have to be of the life-and-death nature; some said they would implant a chip simply to make a shopping experience more enjoyable.
By definition, one can't see a black hole itself, only its effect on the light of intervening stars. And without some serious equipment, even that's a tall order. Luckily for all us amateur astronomers, Thomas Müller and Daniel Weiskopf of the University of Stuttgart, Germany, have created a simulation that uses actual star data to calculate exactly what seeing the Schwarzschild black hole would look like.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.