Of the body’s organs, the lungs are among the trickiest to take a biopsy and treat cancer in, both due to how important they are, as well as due to their inaccessibility. The total respiratory surface within the average human lungs is about 50 to 75 square meters. Maneuvering any kind of instrument down the endless passages to reach a suspicious area, or a cancerous region to treat is nearly impossible. This has so far left much of the lungs inaccessible.
The standard of care for lung cancer is generally surgical: remove parts of the lung tissue. However, a proposed new method using magnetic tentacles may soon provide a more gentle approach, as described in Nature Engineering Communications by Giovanni Pittiglio and colleagues (press release).
The tentacles are made out of a silicone substrate with embedded magnets that allow for it to be steered using external magnetic sources. With an embedded laser fiber, the head of the tentacle can be guided to the target area, and the cancerous tissue sublimated using an external laser source. In experiments on cadavers with this system, the researchers found that they could enter 37% deeper into the lungs than with standard equipment. The procedure was also completed with less tissue displacement.
Considering the high fatality rate of lung cancers, the researchers hope that this approach could soon be turned into a viable therapy, as well as for other medical conditions where a gentle tentacle slithering into the patient’s body could effect treatments previously considered to be impossible.
Heading image: Close-up of a magnetic tentacle robot next to a phantom bronchiole (Credit: University of Leeds)
The famous hoverboards of Back to the Future haven’t quite gotten here yet, but that hasn’t stopped anyone with a unique personal vehicle from using the name any time they need some quick marketing. The self-balancing scooter trend of the mid-2010s was the best example of this in recent memory, but there are also water-propelled platforms that use the popular name as well as a myriad of other more skateboard-like devices that never got off the ground at all. This project from [Damien Dolata], on the other hand, might be the most authentic prototype we’ve seen compared against the fictional version presented in the movie.
The hoverboard uses a set of rotating magnets, referred to in this build as magneto-rotational repulsors, which spin up to an extremely high rotational speed underneath the board. When above a metal surface, the spinning magnets generate eddy currents in the metal beneath them which create the strong magnetic field needed to levitate the board. Unlike the Lexus hoverboard system which used supercooling magnets, this is a much more affordable way of producing magnetic fields but is a little bit more complicated due to the extra moving parts.
As this is still in the prototyping stages, it has only been able to lift around 30 kg and hasn’t been tested in motion yet, but there are two small turbines built into the hoverboard to generate thrust whenever [Damien] gets to that point. It would require a larger metal surface to move across as well, which might be the main reason why it hasn’t been tested this way yet. For any native French speakers taking a look at this project, be sure to fill in any of our gaps in the comments below, and for other ways that eddy currents have been used in transportation take a look at this bicycle that uses them in its drivetrain.
Continue reading “Hoverboard Rides On Eddy Currents”
Magnets, how do they work? Although the quantum mechanics behind ferromagnetism are by no means easy, a few simple experiments can give you a good grasp of how magnets attract and repel each other, and show how they interact with electric phenomena. [Niklas Roy] built an exhibit for the Technorama science museum in Switzerland that packs a bunch of such electromagnetic experiments in a single package, appropriately called the Visitors Magnet.
The exhibit consists of a big magnet-shaped enclosure that contains a variety of demonstrators that are all powered by magnets. They range from simple compasses to clever magnetic devices we find in the world around us: flip-dot displays for instance, on which you can toggle the pixels by passing a magnet over them. You can even visualize magnetic field lines by using magnetic viewing film, or turn varying fields into audio through a modified telephone receiver.
Another classic demonstrator of electromagnetism is a color CRT monitor, which here displays a video feed coming from a camera hanging directly overhead. Passing a magnet along the screen makes all kind of hypnotizing patterns and colors, amplified even more by the video feedback loop. [Niklas] also modified the picture tube with an additional coil, connected to a hand-cranked generator: this allows visitors to rotate the image on the screen by generating an AC current, neatly demonstrating the interaction between electricity and magnetism.
The Visitors Magnet is a treasure trove of big and small experiments, which might not all withstand years of use by museum guests. But that’s fine — [Niklas] designed the exhibit to be easy to maintain and repair, and expects the museum to replace worn-out experiments now and then to keep the experience fresh. He knows a thing or two about designing engaging museum exhibits, with a portfolio that includes vector image generators, graffiti robots and a huge mechanical contraption that plays musical instruments.
Continue reading “Hands-On Museum Exhibit Brings Electromagnetism To Life”
Carl Friedrich Gauss was, to put it mildly, a polymath responsible for a large percentage of the things we take for granted in the modern world. As a physicist and mathematician he pioneered several fields of study including within the field of magnetism. But since he died decades before the first car was built, it’s unlikely he could have imagined this creation, a magnetic slot-car race track called the Gauss Speedway by [Jeff McBride], which bears the name of the famous scientist.
The Gauss Speedway takes its inspiration from a recent development in robotics, where many small robots can travel around a large area with the help of circuit traces integrated into their operating area. With the right current applied to these traces, magnetic fields are generated which propel the robots. [Jeff] wanted to build something similar, integrated into a printed circuit board directly, and came up with the slot car idea. The small cars have tiny magnets in them which interact with the traces in the PCB, allowing the cars to move with high precision around the track. He did abandon the traditional slot car controller in favor of a push-button style one directly on the PCB too, which means everything is completely integrated.
While this was more of a demonstration or proof-of-concept, some of the features of this style of robot can be seen in this video, which shows them moving extremely rapidly with high precision, on uneven surfaces, or even up walls. Magnetic robots like these are seeing quite a renaissance, and we’ve even seen some that use magnetism to shape-shift.
Continue reading “Racing Cars On A PCB”
There’s a trick in the world of plastic enclosures. The threaded insert is a small cylinder of metal with threads on the inside and a rough edge on the outside. To make a plastic part with a hole for securely connecting bolts that can be repeatedly screwed without destroying the plastic, you take the threaded insert and press it (usually with the help of a soldering iron to heat the insert) into a hole that’s slightly smaller than the insert. The heat melts the plastic a little bit and allows for the insert to go inside. Then when it cools the insert is snugly inside the plastic, and you can attach circuit boards or other plastic parts using a bolt without stripping the screw or the insert. We’ve seen Hackaday’s [Joshua Vasquez] installing threaded inserts with an iron, as well as in a few other projects.
This trick is neat. And I’ve now proven that it does not work with neodymium magnets.
Continue reading “Fail Of The Week — Accidental Demagnetization”
[Lucid Science] shows us how to make some simple reed switches. Reed switches are simple components that detect a magnetic field and can close or open a circuit once detected. While not really a thing of beauty, these DIY reed switches should help you out if you just can’t wait to order some or you fancied trying your hands at making some components from scratch.
Reed switches normally come in very small form factors so if you need something small then this may not be for you however the video does show you on a macro scale the fundamental workings of a reed switch. To make your own reed switch you need only a few parts: some copper, enamelled wire and magnets. They really are simple devices however sometimes it’s easy to overlook how simple some things are when they are so small that you can’t really see how they work.
Making your own components from scratch is probably the best way to understand the inner workings of said component. In the past we have seen some pretty awesome self built components from these beautiful DIY Nixie tubes to even making your own LEDs
Continue reading “Make Your Own Reed Switches”
Every week Hackaday.io features an AMA of sorts. This is the Hack Chat, a chatroom where we sit down with the best in the business to talk about manufacturing techniques, engineering, and how to build the best hardware around. Over the last few months, we’ve hosted a few hardware celebrities, from [Sprite_TM] talking about the ESP32, [Lady Ada] and MicroPython, [Roger Thornton] of Raspberry Pi discussing how to build everyone’s favorite Linux computer, [Samy Kamkar] talking about reverse engineering, and heard [bunnie’s] take on making and breaking hardware.
Now we’re looking for new co-hosts to lead a discussion and be the expert in the room. If you have the skills, we want to hear from you.
We’re looking for experts to lead a discussion on what they’re doing. If you have a new hardware product and want to share the story of taking it to production while getting some feedback from the Hackaday community, this is the place to do it. We’re looking for a wide range of people who will allow us to pick their brains. If you’ve ever designed a 16-layer PCB, we want to know how (and why) you did it. If you’re into building robotics, we want to hear from you. If you’re an embedded systems wizard, this is your time to shine.
If you want to get in on this, send us an email. We’re doing one Hack Chat a week, every Friday, sometime around noon, Pacific time. This is a great opportunity for you to share what you know with one of the best hardware communities on the Internet. It’s also great practice if you’re thinking about presenting at the Hackaday SuperConference in November.
This Week: How do Magnets Work Anyway?
Do you know how magnets work? Of course you don’t, nobody does. But one of the people with the deepest knowledge on the topic is Jeremy Chan who is a Prototype Engineer at Nano Magnetics Ltd. This Friday at noon PST Jeremy leads a Hack Chat on magnetism.
What is there to talk about? Jeremy will cover how magnets are manufactured and magnetized. He’ll cover the different grades of magnets, and the different magnetic sensing mechanisms. He’ll also go into some of the most interesting magnetic phenomenon. How often do you get to hang out with a magnet expert? See you this Friday!