Rail programming

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The updating of an traditional hobby has been enthralling visitors to the August-long Summer Bytes Festival at The National Museum of Computing.

The world's first fully computerised train set has just been launched by Hornby and its developer, Richard Prokop, a local resident, has loaned the system to TNMOC for the Festival.

Chris Monk, Learning Co-ordinator at TNMOC, said: "The Summer Bytes festival aims to encourage visitors to be creative with technology and not just consumers of it. So, the fully computerised train set is a perfect fit for the Festival. Users can operate the train set through software on an iPod, iPad, Android tablet or personal computer. They can fully control train movements, including light and sound functions, and operate signals and points. An easy-to-use programming system also allows full or part automation of a model railway. It's a fantastic learning environment that visitors are finding to be great fun and an introduction to computer programming."

Richard Prokop of Invicto Systems said: "Hornby's Railmaster and new eLink interface and train sets are very new and it has been terrific to see the reaction of visitors to it at the Summer Bytes Festival. We developed the system for Hornby, so it's always very satisfying to watch the enthusiasm and inventiveness of people using it, especially the young."

As well as operating locos with lights and sounds, including horns and even squeaking brakes, Hornby Railmaster can also play built-in sounds at the station such as station announcements, guards whistles, and slamming doors! Future plans for RailMaster include Voice Control, and the ability to talk to your trains, signals, and points to operate them.

The demonstration train set is on display throughout the Summer Bytes Festival which runs until 1 September at The National Museum of Computing.

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