This 1970s tank simulator drives through a tiny world

This 1970s tank simulator drives through a tiny world

– This feels like an obvious thing to say, but: tanks are expensive, both to buy and to fuel. If you want to train someone to drive one, it'd be great if theycould learn the basics on a simulator first. So in the 1970s, the Swiss Armyhad the idea to design and build tank simulators. But this was well beforecomputer-generated images.

They couldn't create a virtual world.So instead… …they built a wonderful exampleof 70s analog technology. The viewscreen in that boxis connected to a real camera and a real miniaturelandscape through there. In the past, thousands and thousandsof tank drivers trained on machines like that. There's now only onesimulator left in the world and it's in the Swiss Military Museum,about an hour north of Zurich. And tourists can try it.

– There existed in the past, 12 simulators fordifferent types of tanks. It's very accurate forteaching the basics, and teaching where to go withthe hand and with the feet. – Put that over your head. And then because in a normal tankit's too loud with the motor noises, you have a specialmicrophone that goes around, – Throat mic!- It's a throat mic. – So this goes on like…

– This.- Oh, that is… Okay, that's interesting. Yep. Okay. – Headset. – Okay. – Looks good. – Let's drive a tank. – Yeah, I wish you a good drive. – Thank you!.

Wow. Okay. All right, so. – So, I'm going to start the hydraulics. – Yep. Oh boy! Okay. [laughs] – Sounds good. Now, you can start the main motor. [motor revving] – Very well. Sounds good.

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– You can drive in the middle. – It's a tank. – Yeah, sure. You can go in the fourth gear. – Yeah. – That's the only one of theType 68 tank that's remaining and we managed to get it running here. It took roughly aboutone and a half, two years. We had to really go into itfrom ground-up.

It was very difficult.Not for everything, but mostly for the electricaland electronic parts because it's old tech. It's not like you can go toany supermarket and buy it. – Fifth gear. – There is a memory functionon the computer module which is based off this x and y axis,says you're here, you're on gravel, you're on snow, you're on normal earth,you're on road, and something like that. If you drive into a tree, the feetwhere the camera sits on.

Just moves up and it's likeyou're having a panoramic ride above our model with a helicopter! – Okay, we can go… – Fifth gear, fifth gear. – The foot where you're driving on,it's kind of a metal slide. If that moves a tiny bit. Or for instance, if there'ssome contact with it and it moves, for instance, it needs to go up to go over that,.

It will notice thatand signalize the cabin that you're movingover something. – The camera's original.The foot is original. The whole model is original. Everything except for thecomputer part is original, but it was too old and you don'tfind parts easily for that. So we had to rebuild iton a Raspberry Pi. – You can go into fourth gearagain if you're comfortable. – It is really dangerous what you do.

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Here, it's a game.It's like a game. This job is not a game. – Thank you very much. – You're welcome. – [laughing] How do I get out of here?

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