[Cyborg] coded magnets

Eric Boyd mrericboyd at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 22 08:39:58 PDT 2010


http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/10/22/1220230/Programmable-Magnets
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/news/4337757
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4m81JjZCJo&feature=channel_page

** non-contact attachment (this is amazing!) **
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9-iF67UxXk&feature=channel

I am super impressed with (a) how simple this idea is and (b) how useful 
it might be!

That non-contact attachment video has a trick, because it's actually 
impossible to have unconfined magnetic levitation of static magnets (no 
matter how you arrange them, even in 3D!).  The trick is that holder 
they show - it constrains movement in five of the six degrees of 
freedom, and at least one of the those prevented movements is essential 
to how the trick works.  It's still pretty awesome though and can be 
used in many of the situations they propose.

Like the slashdot commenters, I'm a little concerned about the longevity 
of placing so many tiny magnets next to each other - won't they cause 
each other to slowly loose strength, limiting their lifetime?  I'm also 
a little mystified at how they make them - they must have the tiniest 
(yet super powerful) electro-magnet arrays?

Still, I can see this being used everywhere in the next 5 years.  It 
gives me a "welcome to the future" kind of feeling :-)

Eric


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