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Magnetic

— Computers

MagPen offers a new take on the stylus

By - July 24, 2013 2 Pictures
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
— Robotics

FluxCrawler robot inspects steel cables big and small

By - July 4, 2013 1 Picture
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
— Environment

Nanoscavengers could be the next-gen water purifiers

By - May 15, 2013 2 Pictures
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
— Science

Swarms of tiny "microgrippers" used to perform biopsies

By - April 29, 2013 3 Pictures
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
— Sports

Cage-less Koala Bottle sticks to the bike using magnets

By - January 30, 2013 4 Pictures
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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