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Lego Blocks Simulate Microfluidic Filters

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the they-slice-they-dice-they-make-julienne-fries dept.

Toys 26

BuzzSkyline writes "Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are playing with Lego blocks to discover how arrays of nanoscopic obstacles could sort cells and other tiny particles by size. Ball bearings dropped through an array of Lego pieces submerged in glycerin serve as an analogue of the tiny systems, with bearings of different sizes taking different paths through the array. An academic paper describing the Lego research recently appeared in the journal Physical Review Letters (subscription required)."

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26 comments

Meanwhile, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29285367)

Meanwhile, researchers at Country Bumpkin's Higher Edumacation facility attempted to recreate the experiment with "aftermarket" [craigslist.org] lego pieces submerged in Everclear [wikipedia.org].

It goes without saying that the result of experiment caused the science department (located in Uncle Nillis's barn) to be evacuated whilst the fumes cleared out.

Not Interested (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29285375)

It if isn't about black turtle-neck wearing gay Nazis then I'm not interested.

Re:Not Interested (-1, Offtopic)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29285537)

It if isn't about black turtle-neck wearing gay Nazis then I'm not interested.

Apple fanboi?

You'll think differently when Apple releases the iLego - Lego blocks that you can customize through the Apple Lego Store.

... and the iMindstorm will knock your socks off! Literally. and fetch you a beer. And a tofu burger. Even if you don't want it ... because Apple knows what you want!

Well as long as I don't have to reverse polarity (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29285381)

Lego? Microfluidic Filters? Yeah and if I reverse the polarity on the main communications array, a tachyon pulse will be generated.

Re:Well as long as I don't have to reverse polarit (0, Offtopic)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 4 years ago | (#29285441)

Lego? Microfluidic Filters? Yeah and if I reverse the polarity on the main communications array, a tachyon pulse will be generated.

FAIL: you forgot to mention the Heisenberg compensators and the plasma conduits.

Re:Well as long as I don't have to reverse polarit (0, Offtopic)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29285581)

yea but he didn't mention the replicator and transporter systems.

Re:Well as long as I don't have to reverse polarit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29286471)

And the inertial dampeners... never forget the inertial dampeners.

Re:Well as long as I don't have to reverse polarit (5, Funny)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29285473)

Nonsense, obviously the emergency capacitors would absorb any access energy created by the array. The only side effect was in they overloaded they would discharge through the main reactor core overloading several systems, possibly causing a flux in the hyper-drive which would create a tach...

oh wait you are right.

Re:Well as long as I don't have to reverse polarit (2, Funny)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#29285517)

wow...

access = excess

in = if

me = just woke up, sorry about that.

Re:Well as long as I don't have to reverse polarit (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 4 years ago | (#29303541)

Don't worry about it. You've already displayed more attention to detail than those involved with actually writing the dialog for the real show.

How is this new? (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29285485)

Biochemists already do this with proteins [wikipedia.org] and other biochemicals and I'm sure other fields have done this with other things. Is this only new and exciting because legos are being used?

Re:How is this new? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29285761)

This is entirely different. The particles come out of the filter at different places rather than at different times.

My date was really impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29285585)

... until I told her "the neat thing" about how the experiments were done.

its plinko (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29285815)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plinko
its plinko

Way Cool (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29286179)

I build microfluidic devices and man it can be time consuming to design fabricate and test them. To design a good device you have to draw up the design, fabricate it (often in a clean room) and then assemble and test it. With this I could just get a little slimy and in 30 minutes have a good idea if what I have is going to work...Now I just have to convince my boss I'm not just playing with Legos at work

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29286795)

Now when my wife asks why I waste my time with Legos I can tell her that I'm learning how to sort nano-particles in microfluidic arrays!

I hate when headlines do this. (3, Interesting)

johnthorensen (539527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29286865)

Reporters and the like are always trying to get an 'angle' obviously, but still - it's a little lame to emphasize the Lego portion of this. I love Legos, but let's face it - this apparatus could have been built out of many other things. The real 'science' behind this story is the construction of a scale model and details upon how the researchers were able to prove similitude [wikipedia.org] between the large and micro scales. Not that pop sci articles aren't valuable, but using Lego as a hook to a legitimate science publication seems gimmicky.

Re:I hate when headlines do this. (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289845)

I love Legos, but let's face it - this apparatus could have been built out of many other things.

The researcher answers the question:

* Lego is available and accessible, moreso than developing tools or using ad hoc scavenged parts to make your own pegs
* Lego is machined to fairly high standards of consistency and clean geometry, which helps this particular study

Re:I hate when headlines do this. (1)

eh2o (471262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29289859)

Seems like it would be better to just simulate in on the computer. Legos submerged in glycerin sounds like a terrible mess.

Legos Blocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29287363)

Lego blocks, is there anything they can't do?

Legos (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29288215)

Is there anything they can't do?

(And I know the "proper" company defined term is Lego blocks. Fuck you.)

Re:Legos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29288869)

It's more that 'Legos' looks weird than about following a company rule.

I spent my childhood playing with Lego, and never once saw it refered to as 'Legos' till I started reading Slashdot.

Reducing the cost of research by.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29296755)

... Using Mega Bloks instead of Legos?

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