3D printed origami robots that crawl and grab when activated by magnets

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. Read the rest

These 3D-printed shapeshifting bots can crawl, jump, and catch things under magnetic control

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:

“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.

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Slow-motion magnet collisions

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

Watch some strange ways strong magnets interact with copper plates

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

"Whale Hello" magnet

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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Watch colorful iron shavings pulse to music in real time

Roman De Giuli created MATEREALITY, his latest in series of abstract films of chemical and physical reactions shot in extreme closeup. Read the rest

Can a supermagnet dangerously affect the iron in blood?

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

Cheap magnetic tetrominoes

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

What happens to a levitating gyroscope in a vacuum?

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

Magnet fishing is the coolest hobby you probably didn't know existed

As a kid, I grew up near minutes from the beach and many times saw grownups meticulously sifting through the sand with a metal detector. I imagined they were pulling up diamond rings and pirate's gold. My dad assured me they weren't, though I suspect he just didn't want to buy me a metal detector.  

In any case, these magnet fishing hobbyists have them beat. 

By dropping a very strong magnet underwater, history buffs "WW2 Wendal" fish their local lochs and rivers for valuable metal objects. They primarily explore WW2 sites for discarded war artifacts but often reel in non-military items such as stolen safes and, well, junk.  Sometimes they find nothing at all but, judging from their videos, that doesn't break their spirit. 

(Digg) Read the rest

Bill Nye answered years-old Twitter questions, then filmed them

In March, brand-new Twitter account @SciSupport_BN mysteriously answered science questions, many of which had gone unanswered for years. The real fun started when Bill Nye himself filmed the replies. Read the rest

This maglev quadcopter hints at transportation's future

Hyperloop One engineers demonstrate the power of maglev using spinning arrays atop a copper plate. Despite weighing over 100 pounds, the gadget floats and could hold considerably more weight. Read the rest

Watch what happens when you touch magnetized ferrofluid

YouTuber Brainiac75 suffers for science by taking a viewer request to touch the spikes formed by exposing ferrofluid to an extremely powerful neodymium magnet. He also shares some history of the substance. Read the rest

Watch magnets do ballet in slow motion

Taofledermaus writes:

Neodynmium magnets and a high speed camera? It turns out it is, as the kids say, oddly satisfying. I was practicing with some macro shots with the Chronos high speed camera, using LED lighting and filming at around 4000 frames per second. I dropped some hard drive magnets and noticed the magnets behaved very oddly and unpredictably.

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The FEEL FLUX grants the sense of slowing down time

I’ve been playing with my FEEL FLUX for weeks and its hit rate in the amazement department is 100%.

Each time you drop the metal ball through the copper tube you’d expect it to zip out the other end but instead, it lazily creeps from one end to the other and dribbles out into your waiting hand.



A “Silent Catch” is what happens when you toss the ball into the FF and it slowly glides down the sides without making contact with it.  I have to say that it’s satisfying and magical every time I pull off the maneuver.

As the ball glides down the tube, the magnetic field changes inside the metal wall and when this happens, a bit of voltage is created.   This reaction is not unlike a tiny, temporary battery and is called an electromotive force. The movement pattern of the voltage moves down with the ball and looks like this:



What could be simpler?

The tube’s material is an electrical conductor and drives current around in circles as the ball descends. The scientists at my laboratory tell me that when this happens, a second magnetic field is created that opposes the downward motion of the magnetic ball. The ball wants to fall through the tube at 9.8 meters per second but the field wants to halt it and of course, gravity wins in the end. And here’s the crazy part – the faster the initial downward motion, the more powerful the slowing force becomes. Read the rest

Watch an object levitating atop another levitating object

YouTuber Latheman666 takes maglev to the next level by adding nine neodymium magnet cubes to a levitating magnet and then floating a pyrolytic graphite disc about 1mm above the neodymium. Hypnotic! Read the rest

Cool magnetic gyroscopic levitation

Here's cobrakiller2000's homemade Levitron-style magnetic top. He says:

The only non-electric way that I know off to get a magnet fully levitating over a magnet and with nice elevation too. Looks way cool and is just overall a beautiful invention in my opinion. Was hard to pull this off. I struggled for weeks before I got it levitating - very delicate system. Yes, gyroscopic forces keep it from tipping over and therefore keeps it in repelling mode as long the rpm are high enough.

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