Videogame developer Phil Compile and 4-year-old son Ollie made this absolutely wonderful Super Mario stop motion animation using refrigerator magnets.
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If you've ever tried to create swapable arms and weapons on gaming miniatures, using rare earth magnets, you know what a hassle it can be. Great idea, not fun to implement.
In 2018, a Kickstarter called Hand of Glory raised $156,000 to create a line of hot-swapable fantasy miniatures. With a collection of figures outfitted with rare earth magnet wrists and a line of weapons and other accessories, you could mix and match to create unique miniatures tailored to your game. Hand of Glory is back with another campaign to add more figures and tons more weapons and accessory options to the line.
The folks at Hand of Glory were kind enough to send me a sample box of minis and weapons. The minis are wonderfully sculpted and the weapons and other components are varied and characterful. Hand of Glory 2 introduces 11 new figures and over 100 new weapons and other items. Among the new additions are chain-based weapons and animal figures on chain leashes.
I have never played a game using magnetized minis, so I can't judge how fussy the process is of changing out parts on the fly, or how often things fall off. The magnets do seem strong, but I did notice that some of the bigger, heavier weapons sometimes pivot on the magnetic wrist as you move the figure and "go limp," not something you ever want your scary, intimidating weapon to do. But this is a minor quibble.
With so many people using miniatures in RPGs these days, and so many cool "miniature agnostic" fantasy skirmish games out there, these sort of modular, design-your-own minis make a lot of sense. Read the rest
Markhacks creates cardboard pendulums and such. Here's one with a bunch of bothersome magnets underneath the weight.
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I made another pendulum of cardboard. Using multiple magnets with reversed polarity causes chaotic motion.
It was suggest I watch European magnet fishing videos. These Dutch master fisherman hit the jackpot. Read the rest
Magnet fishing, or the art of dropping a magnet into deep water with a rope attached to it, is almost as compelling to watch as drain clearing!
These intrepid archaeologists seem pretty satisfied they've found Hernán Cortés lost brake shoe.
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These magnetic balls look fun as heck. Keep them out of the way of small kids and pets, please. Read the rest
A new study suggests that humans can subconsciously sense Earth's magnetic field. While this capability, called magnetoreception, is well known in birds and fish, there is now evidence that our brains are also sensitive to magnetic fields. The researchers from Caltech and the University of Tokyo measured the brainwaves of 26 participants who were exposed to magnetic fields that could be manipulated. Interestingly, the brainwaves were not affected by upward-pointing fields. From Science News:
Participants in this study, who all hailed from the Northern Hemisphere, should perceive downward-pointing magnetic fields as natural, whereas upward fields would constitute an anomaly, the researchers argue. Magnetoreceptive animals are known to shut off their internal compasses when encountering weird fields, such as those caused by lightning, which might lead the animals astray. Northern-born humans may similarly take their magnetic sense “offline” when faced with strange, upward-pointing fields...
Even accounting for which magnetic changes the brain picks up, researchers still don’t know what our minds might use that information for, (Caltech neurobiologist and geophysicist Joseph) Kirschvink says. Another lingering mystery is how, exactly, our brains detect Earth’s magnetic field. According to the researchers, the brain wave patterns uncovered in this study may be explained by sensory cells containing a magnetic mineral called magnetite, which has been found in magnetoreceptive trout as well as in the human brain.
"Transduction of the Geomagnetic Field as Evidenced from Alpha-band Activity in the Human Brain" (eNeuro)
"Evidence for a Human Geomagnetic Sense" (Caltech) Read the rest
Remember that school-room lesson on invisible forces where the teacher sprinkles iron filings over a sheet of paper that is placed over a magnet? Here's a complete upgrade. Watch these magnetic field patterns in 3D, created when magnetite sand is thrown on magnets – some of them bouncing on a small trampoline – and shot in slow motion. Beautifully captivating.
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A team at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have created a set of foldable, 3D printed robots that are doped with magnetic particles that are precisely aligned during printing; when triggered by a control-magnet they engage in precise movements: grabbing, jumping, rolling, squeezing, etc.
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MIT researchers designed and 3D-printed an array of soft, mechanical critters that are controlled by waving a magnet over them. The shapeshifters that fold up, crawl, grab things, and snap together into intricate formations may someday lead to new kinds of biomedical devices. For example, one of the devices "can even be directed to wrap itself around a small pill and carry it across a table." From MIT News:
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“We think in biomedicine this technique will find promising applications,” says (MIT mechanical engineer Xuanhe Zhao.) “For example, we could put a structure around a blood vessel to control the pumping of blood, or use a magnet to guide a device through the GI tract to take images, extract tissue samples, clear a blockage, or deliver certain drugs to a specific location. You can design, simulate, and then just print to achieve various functions.”
In addition to a rippling ring, a self-squeezing tube, and a spider-like grabber, the team printed other complex structures, such as a set of “auxetic” structures that rapidly shrink or expand along two directions. Zhao and his colleagues also printed a ring embedded with electrical circuits and red and green LED lights. Depending on the orientation of an external magnetic field, the ring deforms to light up either red or green, in a programmed manner.
The YouTube channel of Magnetic Games ("all the ways to have fun with magnets") posted high-powered neodymium magnets with names like "The Death Magnet" and "Big Magnet" colliding with one another in high-FPS slo-mo footage. [via] Read the rest
YouTuber NightHawkInLight got his hands on some thick copper plates and some neodymium magnets, then showed some of the strange ways the two materials interact. Read the rest
This essential purchase is only a dollar, but you have to pay shipping: a 1.25" magnet featuring a suave cartoon whale saying "WHALE HELLO." (Amazon) Best buy a dozen, then, just to be sure. We've been arguing all day about whether this is better than the "snailed it" magnet, and, frankly, things are getting kind of heated.
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Roman De Giuli created MATEREALITY, his latest in series of abstract films of chemical and physical reactions shot in extreme closeup. Read the rest
YouTuber Brainiac75 got a lot of questions about the possible dangers of a supermagnet affecting the iron in his blood, so he did an experiment with real blood. Read the rest
These bags of Tetris-branded magnetic tetrominoes don't look much good (it's obviously just a rubbery sheet with the shapes stamped out) but they are dirt cheap (49 for $9) and the street (you) will find its own uses. (very previously)
Are there any good magnetic tetrominoes? As in: each "pixel" a cube rather than millimeter-thick. Read the rest
The Action Lab took a maglev gyroscope and placed it inside a sealed chamber to see what happens to a levitating gyroscope in a vacuum.
A lot of people took issue with the experiment's setup and explanation, but it's interesting nonetheless. He responded to those concerns:
Hi everyone! I see a lot of comments that mention it will stop because of gravity. A lot of people said that in my pendulum video also. But remember that gravity doesn't "slow things down." The only reason we associate gravity with slowing things down is because it pulls things toward the earth and they hit the earth and the friction causes it to stop. So friction is the stopping force, not gravity. But you are right, gravity does play a role here that I didn't mention in the video. That is that it causes precession in the gyroscope. Since it never started out initially straight up, gravity does make the gyroscope tip over eventually. This may be even a larger factor than the magnet friction I talked about.
• Will a Levitating Gyroscope Spin Forever in a Vacuum Chamber? (YouTube / The Action Lab) Read the rest