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Post #4721

Friday links

We start this week’s links sent to our studio mailing list with one from Jack, that combines three subjects close to our heart – robotics, short-run manufacture by small companies, and small companies talking about trying to do new things so others can learn from it. This blog from Modular Robotics is a wonderful insight into all three.

Timo sent adding that it was “A bit like an updated, and includes quite a lot of icons from

To follow on with another icon, as it were… Alex pointed us to this Dieter Rams interview

We got a little excited about the potential of the WIMM platform despite the (IMHO) rather anodyne product video!

Timo unearthed this gorgeous 1964 footage of the building of the Victoria Line – the website reveals “This was to be British Transport Films largest single project in terms of the quantity of footage that was shot.”

More British Transport ephemera from Matt Webb, on how cars and cities chat to each other using magnets:

In Southampton when I was growing up, we had one of the world’s first adaptive traffic routing systems, where the traffic light delays would alter dynamically depending on traffic. At night they would switch to an “on demand” model: the main route at a crossroads would remain green, while the minor route would only go green 15 seconds after a car had approached it.

Since this was detected by the induction loop, and since an induction loop only has magnetic flux through it when a material is *moving* over it, if you sat in a static car waiting for the traffic light to turn from green to red again, it would never reactivate. (I sat for 15 minutes one, still at a red light on a minor route, to make sure it didn’t come on by accident. It turned green as soon as I moved the car just a little bit.)

Here’s a nice hack:

Ambulances had *moving* parts underneath them, to trigger a stronger signal in the induction loop. In Southampton, this was used to identify emergency vehicles moving up to the lights, and preferentially change traffic lights green a hop or two ahead of them on likely routes.

Some people build these into their cars to get better treatment by these routing systems.

Finally, all that remains is Alice’s recommendation of a Chrome experimental video by the band OK Go & Pilobolus, which allows us to put their best feet forward in order to say happy Friday from all of us in the studio…

After this:

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