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Brothers Build World's Largest Model Airport 90

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-going-to-need-more-glue dept.
kkleiner writes "Frederik and Gerrit Braun, energetic twin brothers with no shortage of dreams, have just finished construction of the world's largest model airport. With 40,000 lights, 15,000 figurines, 500 cars, 10,000 trees, 50 trains, 1000 wagons, 100 signals, 200 switches, 300 buildings and 40 planes, Knuffingen Airport is both a wonder to behold as well as a technological tour de force. The best part of Knuffingen is that it's alive. Forty planes and 90 vehicles move about autonomously. Located in Hamburg, Germany, the model is based on Hamburg Airport."

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Brothers Build World's Largest Model Airport

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  • Wow. How cool and fun!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, 2011 @12:07AM (#36102820)

    In other news German police have arrested two terrorist suspects who are believed to have assisted the terrorist by designing a complete working model of Hamburg Airport. The police claim that this model was to be used to train terrorist for future attacks against the airport.....

    • by cbope (130292)

      Above post is obviously meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek, but if this was in the US, I guarantee they would get a visit from DHS and likely charged with something terrorism-related. You can't even take pictures of planes near airports anymore in the US without getting arrested. I'm still surprised the flight crews don't go ape-shit when people take snapshots through airplane windows during flights. I mean, the pictures could be used by terrorists... :P

      It's gone beyond silly.

      • by fotbr (855184)

        Yes, you can still take photos of planes at airports in the US. Out here in the "flyover" states*, we're not all running scared of our shadows, and don't see the terrorist boogyman behind every door, regardless of how much congress, the whitehouse, DHS, TSA, or anyone else wants us to.

        *May not apply in texas, or specific counties not completely dominated by corrupt "good-old-boy" political parties

        • by fotbr (855184)

          And obviously that should read "or specific counties completely dominated by"

          Apparently, we also don't believe in the preview button.

          • Yeh, because the US isn't run by "good-old-boy" political parties.

            The US is a corrupt police state that claims to be spreading democracy. Just look at the way your government treats it's own citizens.

            • The US is exporting democracy because they have no domestic need for it anymore.

              In a world where virtual ideas become goods, don't be surprised if the laws of the market are applied to them.

        • by bug1 (96678)

          "Out here in the "flyover" states*, we're not all running scared of our shadows, and don't see the terrorist boogyman behind every door, regardless of how much congress, the whitehouse, DHS, TSA, or anyone else wants us to."

          You obviously arent patriots then ! /sarcasm

        • by Coren22 (1625475)

          BWI has a park specifically for photographing planes, I can't imagine them banning it.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        You can't even take pictures of planes near airports anymore in the US without getting arrested.

        I'm actually *very* surprised that I haven't had a few words said to me when I've been stuck in airports. I'll go around shooting pictures of whatever interests me. I like aircraft, so I end up with an awful lot of pictures of random aircraft. I've been considering uploading them all to airliners.com, but ... well ... I'm too lazy. :) I still haven't figured out who these belong to [google.com]. Lots of wh

        • by gknoy (899301)

          Why did they say you couldn't take the pictures?

          • by demonbug (309515)

            Why did they say you couldn't take the pictures?

            I don't know about that specific case, but in general you are not allowed to take pictures of security arrangements at ports of entry. The things that the DHS would object to in those photos are the boring bits; fences, lighting posts, security cameras if they are there, etc. Found that out at a bulk chemical facility; while ~60 miles inland, the facility is serviced by international shipping (via a long ship channel), so is designated as a port of entry. Had to have someone standing over my shoulder while

          • by JWSmythe (446288)

            Well, not to pull some of the most overused gov't quotes, but "national security", "threat level" and "terrorism threat".

            The location was near a port [google.com]. Not a huge one, it's a port that freighters, tankers, and cruise ships use. And you can say to yourself now, "Hmmmm, people on cruise ships take lots of pictures", and you'd be absolutely right.

            We stopped before a guard shack that said "no admittance". Hmmm. Looking at Google Maps, they didn't send the street view cam all t

            • by easyTree (1042254)

              What a messed-up world we live in when one needs to know the law simply so that someone whose job it is to enforce the law can't get away with breaking it without you knowing :/

              • by JWSmythe (446288)

                You know, that's why I learned it in the first place. I was young, dumb, and thought I could make a difference from inside. It took a little time for me to realize that regardless of how good I was, I'd likely work the jails or street patrol for an awful long time. I'd only make a difference to those who I interacted with, and even then, there's a percentage that would prefer I be dead than to interact with me. Getting shot for low pay really isn't really as cool as it sounds. So now I d

      • I'm still surprised the flight crews don't go ape-shit when people take snapshots through airplane windows during flights.

        I once had a passenger tell me I couldn't. I asked for his warrant card. He seemed perplexed. I said that if he thought he can tell me what I can and can't do then presumably he's a policeman or similar, so he should prove it.

        He shut the fuck up and I carried on.

        • by isorox (205688)

          I'm still surprised the flight crews don't go ape-shit when people take snapshots through airplane windows during flights.

          I once had a passenger tell me I couldn't. I asked for his warrant card. He seemed perplexed. I said that if he thought he can tell me what I can and can't do then presumably he's a policeman or similar, so he should prove it.

          He shut the fuck up and I carried on.

          Your fellow passenger is happy for their screaming 6 year old daughter to have high school dropouts groping her, sticking their hands down her pants, and stroking her hair.

    • by DMoylan (65079)

      i'll just leave this here. :-)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP7Di7te5yM [youtube.com]

  • by tuxicle (996538)
    How many model TSA agents does it have, autonomously groping passengers?
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      I've patented the Grope-A-Matic for that, but there's a snag: Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger claim prior art.

  • Scenarios (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mustPushCart (1871520) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @12:22AM (#36102898)

    From TFA:
    The airport, roughly 150 square meters (over 1,600 square feet), is breathtaking to behold. But the Brauns’ masterpiece is even more than an autonomous feast for the eyes: it’s interactive. Visitors can push buttons on the railing surrounding the model airport to induce up to 11 different programmed scenarios. A visitor who pushes the button labeled “Fire incident” will see smoke begin to billow out of a house, and then actual flames. The fire house will sound the alarm and begin flashing its lights. Moments later the fire brigade–3-4 vehicles located randomly about the airport–will turn on their lights and start heading towards the fire. At intersections the fire engines will sound their horns and cars will yield the right of way. Meanwhile the fire grows bigger! After the fire engines converge on the burning house the PC decides whether or not the fire has been successfully put out. If not, another alarm is sounded and additional fire engines (up to 35!) from the neighborhood come to the rescue.

    AI programming along with all the complicated physical inputs too. Amazing

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, 2011 @12:24AM (#36102914)

    There should really be a link to the whole site of the Miniature Wonderland, where the airport is merely integrated as a small part (!). The whole thing is a huge attraction, and I can't even imagine the amount of maintenance it needs. They have created their own control software and direction systems for a few hundred, magnet-driven street vehicles and trains. It's really quite impressive.

    http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/

  • This is what life was like when Petroleum was widely available and used on a frequent basis to fly people quickly around the world.
    I hope you are enjoying the ride on the blimp.
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Blimps need helium, which we are running out of as well. You can use hydrogen, but the results are a bit too hot to handle.

      • by ginbot462 (626023)

        >> Blimps need helium, which we are running out of as well. You can use hydrogen, but the results are a bit too hot to handle.

        But, kind sir, is hydrogen therewith too cold to hold?

        • by f8l_0e (775982)
          In liquid form, I would imagine it is. But we should consult with Mr. Robert Brown to confirm.
    • And once the aerial tour is complete, hurry back to the metro station to catch the intercontinental vactrain home.

  • by OverZealous.com (721745) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @12:51AM (#36103034) Homepage
    If you want to see a better video, with some of the behind-the-scenes tech exposed, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRQ2pOGwVag&feature=channel_video_title [youtube.com]
  • What is this? An airport for ants?!
  • With all that work I'm really surprised to see such a lack of taxiway and runway lighting and signage. But I'm a pilot and notice that more than the gee-whiz neatitude of the moving planes and ground support.
    • by stefanb (21140)

      Their train signals are mostly decoration, as well, even though the system controlling the trains follows similar rules to real-world trains, and could easily control signals as well.

      On the other hand, the immersive qualities are really amazing. I bet you a good German beer that you won't hold the missing lighting and signage against them after having been there even just five minutes.

    • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @02:54AM (#36103528) Homepage

      With all that work I'm really surprised to see such a lack of taxiway and runway lighting and signage.

      All the taxiway and runway lighting is fully operational. Here's the night view. [youtube.com]

      This isn't just a static display with a little repetitive motion. The planes land, and taxi to the terminal on the taxiways. They position at a gate. The jetways move into position and mate with the plane. Fuel trucks and catering trucks come up to the plane. After a while, the support vehicles move off, and a pushback truck pushes the plane clear of the gate area. The plane then turns, follows the taxiways, gets into the takeoff queue, waits at the threshold, rolls onto the runway, takes off, and disappears through the wall.

      The vehicles run on the Faller carsystem, which is used for road vehicles all over Minatur Wunderland. Guidance is via little magnets that follow a metal rail hidden in the table. There are switches at junctions, and the control system is railroad-like. The vehicles are battery powered, and get speed instructions from a central computer, but steering is mechanical, following the track with the magnet.

      The planes use the same system when on the ground. When they're in position for takeoff, a rod comes up through the runway and engages a big pocket in the plane. A second rear rod engages a smaller pocket in the rear. Takeoff is driven from equipment under the runway, which can move and tilt the plane. At the end of the room, the plane flies through a row of strips of "sky" painted material and disappears.

      Behind the scenes, the planes then are brought down, and return to driving mode. They move around on a hidden lower level and are staged to simulate various flights. There's also automatic charging for all vehicles, which make stops at hidden charging stations as needed.

      The airport is only a small part of the whole exhibit, which has a model railroad with 890 trains and 12km of track. There's a staff of 185 people. It's a major tourist attraction.

  • Check out the Diary, it is in German but most have English transcripts. It has a lot more on when goes on behind the scenes. http://www.youtube.com/user/MiWuLaTV#grid/user/5F525544A3296EEB [youtube.com]
  • Good thing they did not build a layout of the area they are in

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/model_rail.png [xkcd.com]

  • A short German lesson

    Knuffingen is a joke name which can be translated roughly as Cuddlington. (cuddly - ton). -ingen is a common ending of old town names in southern Germany. It's instantly recognizable as describing a town or village.

  • If there weren't model airports they wouldn't have gotten the idea for the big airports!

  • It is a very interesting website full of interesting stuff

    The $25 computer for example
    http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/10/a-25-computer-the-size-of-your-thumb-video/ [singularityhub.com]

    or an actual flying car ($200,000)
    http://singularityhub.com/2010/07/06/terrafugia-car-plane-gets-more-faa-aproval-hitting-skies-and-roads-2011-video/ [singularityhub.com]

    There are some interesting robots/ milling machines
    http://singularityhub.com/2010/04/05/5-axis-robot-carves-metal-like-butter-video/ [singularityhub.com]

    for example

    The summary for the model airport is quite misleading

  • One time I was in Germany touring a factory. We get in one part of the building and the guide excitedly starts showing me the model of the room. This particular room was simply a storage room for excess stock and supplies. And in the corner of the room covered with a plexiglass case is the model. It was really nice, had the exact same number of shelves, tables, and boxes.

    The guide proceded to spend about 10 minutes pointing out exactly how each shelf had the same number of boxes arranged in the same posit

    • by isorox (205688)

      The guide proceded to spend about 10 minutes pointing out exactly how each shelf had the same number of boxes arranged in the same position as the ones in the actual room. Yes and the boxes were proportionally the same size and colors. Notice how the shelves have the same labels as the actual shelves... and also notice how the....

      blah blah blah...

      Did the model of the room have a model of the model of the room in the corner?

    • by jheath314 (916607)

      Oh crap... they had the model of the room inside the room they were modeling? Did that model include a miniature replica of itself [xkcd.com], which likewise contained a miniature copy, etc., all the way down?

  • Faller Cars at Gaugemaster [gaugemaster.com]

    £84.10 - £107.70 per vehicle.

    Does anyone else think that they could pull off something like this vastly cheaper?

  • All it needs is a guy in a Godzilla costume to make it complete.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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