When automakers want to test cars for longevity, they put them on rollers and shakers to simulate long-term driving. But how do you test how long roads last? Tom Scott takes us to a pavement testing facility in France that uses a rapidly spinning machine called a fatigue carousel to rapidly imitate decades of road use.
Awesome Tom Scott
Tom Scott got to experience very special tour of Australia’s Parkes Radio Telescope. Not only did he get to see the technology behind the long-standing telescope, he was allowed to walk on its massive dish and take a ride on it as it tilted and changed angles. Because the dish is so enormous, Tom had a hard time keeping his bearings.
Most roller coasters have braking systems that automatically slow down their cars as they go into corners and at the end of the ride. Tom Scott is here to show us Melbourne, Australia’s Great Scenic Railway, one of the last roller coasters to require a human operator to control the brakes aboard each and every trip.
These days, the military uses powerful computers and high-end graphics cards to simulate missions. But in the 1970s, one of the ways to simulate driving a tank was using a miniature city, a motion camera rig, and a remote screen that displayed the first-person perspective to the pilot. Tom Scott took this vintage sim for a ride.
Guédelon is an attraction in France that’s in the process of building a castle and its technologies based on authentic 13th-century drawings and artifacts. Among its features are these giant hamster wheels that use human power to lift stones. Tom Scott got a chance to give one of these treadwheel cranes a spin.
If you visit Normandy, France, 60 euros will give you the chance to float off the ground strapped to your own personal blimp. Each blimp is filled with about 70,000 liters of helium and has a harness and wings for controlling flight. Tom Scott visited Aéroplume Écausseville to take the low-altitude flight inside of an aircraft hangar.
Engineers need to simulate earthquakes to make buildings and other structures safer. Tom Scott headed to the University of Texas to check out the T-Rex, a mobile test rig that can produce massive vibrations in the ground. Combined with sensors, it can measure the stiffness of soil thousands of feet beneath the surface without digging.
With billions of letters sent each year in the U.S., it’s amazing that most mail gets to its destination. While automated processing equipment handles the majority of the mail, Tom Scott explains how the U.S. Post Office deals with hard-to-read addresses using a mix of technology and people typing on custom computer keyboards.
Soda Springs, Idaho, is home to a unique geyser that sprays carbonated water into the air. While the sparkling spring water is naturally-occurring, the water spout itself is the result of a man-made mistake. Tom Scott visited the geyser for an explanation of how it came to be and how they tweaked it to fire every hour on the hour.
Inspired by a vehicle in the 1960s action show Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Tom Scott wanted to test whether it is feasible to drive a vehicle forwards via a video screen while facing backwards. The folks at Sparkmate helped put together a rig that let Tom test the idea using a custom go kart steered by a video game controller.
When companies mine the ground for precious minerals, what do they do with the materials they dug up and didn’t use? In the case of one kaolin mine in Bavaria, Germany, you turn the leftovers into a slope for sandboarders and skiers. Tom Scott takes us on a journey to the Monte Kaolino theme park.
Tom Scott took to the skies to fly with a gaggle of geese. Thanks to microlight pilot Christian of FlywithBirds, they became unofficial members of the flock and got close enough to touch them by flying at the same speed. Not only are the geese unafraid of his aircraft, they treat Christian as a member of their family.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the most expensive display you can buy, gradients of color in dark scenes often look like a blocky mess. Tom Scott offers a great explanation of the technological limitations that cause these issues, and the visual mechanisms that make them less noticeable in brighter scenes.
From gondolas to cable cars to staircases to skateboards, there are many ways to get down a hill. But in Funchal, Madiera, you can ride the Monte Toboggans, which are basically wicker sofas on rails steered by a pair of strong-footed pilots. Tom Scott takes us for a ride – without a seatbelt.
The always informative and compelling vlogger Tom Scott visited Engineering Arts to check out their work in humanoid robotics. What he was greeted by was a mechanical doppelgänger the team built, which Tom commissioned to deliver sponsor’s messages on his behalf.
Vlogger Tom Scott teamed up with musician and producer Beardyman to create a track in real time. Fans provided the lyrics, Tom recorded the vocals, and Beardy used a variety of digital techniques to transform it all into an energetic electronic hyperpop tune.
Located in Scotland, The Hill House was created by architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Unfortunately, the damp climate has been unkind to the home’s experimental construction. Tom Scott shows us how conservationists are working to save the house by surrounding it with a box made from 34 million chain links.
More and more, manufacturers are thinking about ways to reuse and recycle their products once their useful life is over. But mannequins are made from fiberglass, which makes them difficult to recycle. Tom Scott visited Mannakin, a UK outfit who refurbishes and reuse these figures instead of letting them clog up landfills.
There’s little question that EVs reduce carbon emissions, but they’re not as convenient to fill up as gas-powered vehicles. Tom Scott headed to Germany to check out an power solution that sends electricity to trucks via overhead wires like a tram. A hybrid powertrain takes over when changing lanes or exiting highways.
A while back, Tom Scott checked out an elevator that can move both horizontally and vertically. At the time, he thought there was no way to smoothly change angles without stopping, but he was wrong. The Schmid Peoplemover can do just that, transporting passengers up, across a bridge, and back down on the other side.
Railroad operators in Darmstadt, Germany have a unique way to learn how to operate signals without risking real trains. Tom Scott shows off this special model railroad which is operated by real railway controls, including different kinds of switch consoles installed in various eras.
The flight between Scotland’s Papa Westray and Westray islands is incredibly short, covering a distance of 2 kilometers in less than 90 seconds. But it does actually serve a purpose. Tom Scott took flight, and let San Denby from Wendover Productions narrate instead of annoying people on the flight with his own explanation.
Tom Scott recently showed us the UK’s last remaining gravity-fed aerial ropeway. While he was at the facility, he strapped a GoPro to one of its buckets, which captured the perspective of the shale on its rainy 19-minute journey from the quarry to the Forterra brickworks. It’s basically the world’s slowest and muddiest ski lift.
While it’s not as fancy as modern mining conveyors, this vintage ropeway transports shale from a quarry to a brickworks without using electricity or fuel. It uses the weight of materials coming downhill to pull empty buckets uphill. Tom Scott shows off the 100+ year-old system that moves 300 tons of shale per day.
Robots are increasingly being used in factories and warehouses, performing the menial and repetitive tasks that humans no longer need to do. Tom Scott takes us inside a UK warehouse filled with robots from the Ocado Group, each working in harmony to select and prep groceries for delivery to customers.