Did you know you could make complex rotating gears with just magnets?! Watch to see how they work!

You see gears in action and they’re pretty easy to fathom. Metal wheels with interlocking teeth – rotate one wheel and the other wheel rotates in the opposite direction. Change the size of one wheel and it affects the speed at which the other wheel rotates. That’s basically how any simple gearbox on an automobile/bicycle works, translating rotations from a motor or your feet into rotating wheels. What happens when you replace the teeth with magnets? The video above wonderfully explains how gears can work without the mechanical action of interlocking teeth… in fact, they can work without even touching each other! These magnetic gears are pretty interesting and whimsical to look at!

DIY Magnetic Gears Video

YouTuber Magnetic Games shows how these gears work by putting them together from scratch. With 3 3D-printed wheels, the apparatus comes to life. One wheel holds 32 magnets (16 on each side), while the other houses 8 magnets (4 on each side). A third stationary wheel comes with bolts attached in each hole (helping the magnetic attraction pass from one wheel to another), and the apparatus is set up with the wheels on a common axle.

DIY Magnetic Gears Video

Rotating one wheel causes the other to turn in the opposite direction. The wheel with more magnets rotates at a slower pace, while the wheel with less magnets rotates with a higher speed (sort of like a larger gear and smaller gear). Obviously, the magnetic resistance isn’t comparable to the physical resistance of metal gears (you couldn’t really use these in a car or bicycle), but it DOES highlight a unique relationship between gears and magnets – something I knew nothing of until now! Plus, think about it this way, less physical contact = less wear-and-tear…

DIY Magnetic Gears Video

DIY Magnetic Gears Video

Via TheAwesomer

The Rippling Table: A Single Moment Frozen in Time

Inspired by the laws of nature, the Rippling Table from conceptual furniture maker Mousarris represents a single moment frozen in time. In this case, the ripples caused by a water droplet hitting a body of water. You may recall Mousarris previously from their Inception inspired table. Obviously, my secret lair demands both of them now.

The steel and resin table measures 120cm (~47″) in diameter and can allegedly seat eight people comfortably, presumably in equally fancy chairs, because if you’re going to buy a Rippling Table I doubt you accent it with cheap folding chairs.

For anybody seriously interested, you have to contact Mousarris for the price, which in layman’s terms means it probably costs a small fortune. Do you think when you have to contact a company for a product’s price, they try to guess just how rich you are to see how much they can get out of you for it? Because when I called Mousarris about this table they just hung up on me for calling collect.

[via DudeIWantThat]

Physicists 3D Print a Boat Small Enough to Fit Inside a Human Hair

Because our scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should, physicists at Leiden University have 3D printed a tiny tugboat only 30-microns in length. For reference, an average human hair is about 90-microns in width, although mine is much thicker because I shampoo with a product specifically formulated for bears.

The microscopic printing of 3DBenchy the tugboat (a commonly printed 3D test object due to its challenging features, namely its open cockpit) was created as scientists explore the development of uniquely shaped synthetic microswimmers, and can be propelled via onboard platinum reacting with hydrogen peroxide.

So basically in the future, there are going to be a bunch of tiny tugboats cruising around in your bloodstream, monitoring your vitals and administering medicine, and helping you live longer. Of course, you know what else would help you live longer? An apple a day. And, based on my entire apple pie and half-gallon of ice cream a day habit, I should practically be immortal.

[via Gizmodo]

High-speed camera captures a fluid behaving like a solid

High-speed cameras are useful for capturing the unseen world, and that includes the occasional example of oddball physics. Researchers have used a camera recording at 1,000 frames per second to spot a fluid behaving like a solid. The team put a liqui...

This Machine Will Probably Never Finish a Full Rotation

When it comes to telling time with an analog clock, the idea of gear reduction is a very critical piece of the puzzle. Basically, a set of multiple gears work in concert to gradually rotate at slower speeds. So a single motor can drive the seconds, minutes, and hour hands on a dial.

But rather than just reducing the speed of a gear a couple of times, engineer Daniel de Bruin decided to make what he says is the “biggest reduction gear in the universe.” Well, it may not be the largest in dimension, but it’s definitely the most complicated, with 100 gears, each gradually reducing the speed from the gear before it.

Each successive gear turns at exactly 1/10th of the speed of its predecessor. The result is a setup that would take literally eons before it would rotate its final gear.

According to the guys at Gizmodo, you’d have to turn the first gear


times to move the last gear to move just one position. Man, that’s a whole lot of zeros, and I definitely can’t count that high.

The machine’s creator explains the rationale behind his build: “Today at 14:52 I will be exactly 1 billion seconds old. To celebrate I build this machine that visualizes the number googol. That’s a 1 with a hundred zeros. A number that’s bigger than the atoms in the known universe. This machine has a gear reduction of 1 to 10 a hundred times. In order to get the last gear to turn once you’ll need to spin the first one a googol amount around. Or better said you’ll need more energy than the entire universe has to do that.”

If you’ve got a full hour to kill you can watch the contraption get through the first few of layers of gears…

[via Gizmodo]

Computer Physics Simulation Can Accurately Mimic Bread Being Pulled Apart

Computer graphics have come a very long way in the past couple of decades, offering up images which are becoming more and more difficult to distinguish from reality. Especially notable are the improvements in physics engines, which allow objects to move and behave more like they do in real life. One of the holy grails of CGI simulation is that of being able to destroy items so they break apart realistically, and now we have the most realistic method yet… to tear apart a piece of digital bread.

Károly Zsolnai-Fehér of Two Minute Papers turned us on to this amazing computer physics tech which is designed to simulate the fractures that occur in an object as it’s torn apart.

In the paper CD-MPM: Continuum Damage Material Point Methods for Dynamic Fracture Animation (PDF), Joshuah Wolper and a team of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania describe a particle-based animation system they’ve developed which can accurately emulate the way that objects fall apart. The technology can be used to simulate everything from the way a piece of bread gradually tears when you pull it, the way that a block of Jell-O breaks into little bits when you drop it, or how a cookie crumbles when you break it apart.

The system also offers a variety of parameters which allow for fine-tuning the behavior of materials, while still retaining a realistic look. The video below explains more about this impressive graphical achievement, and shows off a few examples:

For now, computers aren’t fast enough to handle all of these computations in real time, and the rendering of a single frame can take anywhere from 17 seconds to 10 minutes, but it’s sure to be optimized in the future. Maybe someday we could have a VR game where you’re eating virtual food at your virtual keyboard and leave virtual crumbs between the keys. Or maybe even virtual Cheetos dust, all without leaving a real world mess. Of course virtual food isn’t nearly as tasty or filling as the real deal.

To learn more about this fascinating technology, you can download the paper here. The source code has also been released on GitHub in case you know what to do with it to make it work on your computer.

On May 20th, the kilogram will no longer be defined by a lump in France

On May 20th, World Metrology Day, the scientific community will officially change the definition of the kilogram. For 130 years, the kilo has been defined by a physical cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy, known as Le Grand K and stored in a vault out...