Tagged With simulators

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If you ask someone what their favourite toy was growing up they will probably say something like Lego. But deep down it was really the illegal fireworks their friend's cousin's uncle got from his neighbour. Nothing can quite match the thrill of something going boom, and now amateur pyrotechnics enthusiasts can safely scratch that itch with software that lets you simulate a full-on fireworks extravaganza.

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Deep in the belly of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, lie "The Domes". Step into one of them and suddenly you're standing on the surface of Mars, or you're flying high above the Earth, looking out from the International Space Station. This is the Systems Engineering Simulator, where we learnt to fly, drive and design better space vehicles.

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If you had any hope you'd actually be productive this Tuesday, you'll want to avoid George Corney's magical browser-based particle fluid simulator at all costs. If you thought hard drugs or Nutella was addictive, just one click in the middle of this simulator's sea of particles and bam! — your work day is over.

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Do you remember how you spent your high school years? Odds are you were more concerned with your social status than actually doing something useful with your life. Not Dominick Lee. Instead of parties and homecomings he designed, built and programmed an impressive low-budget flight simulator that's going to all but guarantee him entry into any university engineering programming.

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When it comes to making video games feel more realistic, Nintendo seems to be one of the industry's leading innovators. First it introduced a vibrating rumble controller accessory for the N64, and then of course it made a buttload of money from the motion-controlled Wii. But a company called Tactical Haptics wants to steal Nintendo's thunder with a grip-simulating motion controller that promises to accurately simulate how a sword or gun really feels in hand.

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Supercomputers let us simulate everything from the weather, to a chess match against a master, to how the human body operates. But researchers at Japan's National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center have created a detailed 3D simulation of a beating human heart that can run on a laptop, allowing even small hospitals to perform research and complex diagnoses.

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When Hurricane Andrew rolled ashore in South Florida back in 1992, it destroyed $US27 billion worth of property. The storm was the third most destructive to ever hit the US, an outcome due in part to the insufficient building codes of the time. Structures simply weren't built to withstand the storm's fury. These days, Florida ensures that new construction can stand up to the next Andrew by torture-testing building materials against a massive Wall of Wind.

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If preparing a bowl of two-minute noodles maxes out your culinary capabilities, you might want to consider a trip to the Tokyo Institute of Technology to enhance your skillset in the kitchen. Researchers there have developed a cooking simulator complete with virtual vegetables that can actually burn, and a force feedback frying pan that lets you feel the weight of a hefty steak.