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Magnetic

The MAG furniture line (Photo: Benjamin Vermeulen)

Benjamin Vermeulen has designed a new range of flatpack furniture that simply snaps into place using magnets, no tools required.  Read More

The Swarm satellites being prepared for launch (Photo: ESA)

On Friday, ESA began a four-year mission to study the Earth’s magnetic field with the launch of the three-satellite Swarm constellation into Earth orbit. Packed “like sardines” in their fairing, the unmanned spacecraft lifted off at 12:02 GMT (1:02 PM CET) from the Plesetsk space port in northern Russia atop a Rockot launcher.  Read More

The tiny eCompass chip provides magnetometer and accelerometer capabilities (Image: STMicr...

STMicroelectronics has announced a new MEMS-based module that integrates a three-axis magnetometer, a three-axis accelerometer, A/D converters, and control logic on a 2 mm x 2 mm x 1 mm surface mount chip, reportedly making it the smallest electronic compass available today.  Read More

The MagPen contains a magnet which is detected by the phone's existing magnetometers

The humble smartphone stylus may soon be gaining new features, thanks to a seemingly simple piece of technology. Developed by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) PhD student Sungjae Hwang, the MagPen is essentially just a plastic tube covered in conductive tape, with conductive rubber tips at either end and a coin-shaped magnet inserted half-way down its length. Via a custom app, however, magnetometers already present in the phone are able to determine where that magnet is in relation to the screen, and respond with a variety of drawing and writing functions.  Read More

CAD model of the FluzCrawler robot inspecting a wire cable (Image: Fraunhofer IZFP)

The important task of inspecting cables on bridges, elevators, ski lifts and cable cars for signs of strain, wear and corrosion is commonly carried out by a device that clasps around the cable and exposes it to a magnetic field, looking for disruptions in the field. The problem is that the diameter of the cables and their jackets can vary considerably, limiting the use of such devices. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing have come up with a one-size-fits-all approach in the form of a robot they’ve dubbed the FluxCrawler.  Read More

New water-purifying synthetic nanoscavengers can be removed from water magnetically (Photo...

According to a joint World Health Organization/UNICEF report issued this week, an estimated 768 million people relied on unimproved drinking-water sources in 2011, with 185 million of these relying on surface water to meet their daily drinking-water needs. WHO and UNICEF have set a 2030 target for everyone to have access to a safe drinking-water supply and new water-purifying “nanoscavengers” developed by researchers at Stanford University could help achieve this goal.  Read More

A 300-micrometer microgripper at the opening of a cathether

When procuring tissue samples for medical diagnosis, doctors have been confined to bulky and invasive forceps. But with recent successful experiments in pigs, we may see doctors switching from the single forceps to hordes of a thousand "microgrippers." These metal discs, each only 300 micrometers in size, are designed to snip bits of tissue when introduced en masse into the body and then be easily retrieved by a doctor. Their small size, added to the fact that they need no batteries, tethers or wires, belies their complexity and autonomy in function, which could allow the microgrippers to provide diagnoses earlier, more easily, and with less trauma.  Read More

Vibromag Cables could find use in security fences such as this one

Things might be getting a little more difficult for the James Bonds and Jason Bournes of the world. A new system developed by Prof. Uwe Hartmann at Germany’s Saarland University utilizes the Earth’s magnetic fields to instantly determine when and where a security fence has been breached.  Read More

The Magnetic Spirit shelving system - art installation or usable furniture?

The Magnetic Spirit shelving system is a concept design from Benoît Bayol and Christophe Bricard. Lying somewhere between carpentry and Cubism, it uses a patented magnetic fixing system to allow the creation of different layouts – and to change the layout at will depending on your mood at any given time.  Read More

The Koala Bottle system uses magnets to hold its bottle in place on the user's bike

The standard bicycle water-bottle-and-cage system is pretty tried and trusted. That said, at one time or another, just about every cyclist has dropped their bottle on the road when they didn’t put it back in the cage properly ... or perhaps they’ve even wiped out, because they were distracted by trying to remove or replace the bottle. That’s why Anthony Goldman created the Koala Bottle system, which uses magnets to keep the bottle attached to the bike.  Read More

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