Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Shape Born From Rubber Bands

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the sproingees dept.

Science 120

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Physicists playing with rubber bands have discovered a new shape. In an attempt to create a spring that replicates the light-bending properties of cuttlefish ink sacs, a team of researchers suspended two rubber strips of different lengths. Connecting the bottoms of the two strips to a cup of water, the shorter band stretched to the same length as the longer one. After gluing the two stretched strips together, the researchers gradually drained the water from the cup. As the bands retracted and twisted from the reduced strain, the researchers were shocked to see the formation of a hemihelix with multiple rainbow-shaped boundaries called perversions. The team hopes their work inspires nanodevices and molecules that twist and transform from flat strips into predetermined 3D shapes on demand." There are several videos attached to the original paper, and all can be viewed without flash.

cancel ×

120 comments

Old phone cords? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834667)

Back when I used corded handsets a lot one could strech them out far enough and then when they retracted you would get a very similar shape....

The real discovery here: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834807)

People have started to rediscover things that were perfectly ordinary 20 years ago. If it is not mentioned anywhere on the Internet or you cannot find it because there is no word for it, then it becomes a new invention when stumbled upon.

I have just filed a patent for a sound storage device that consists of two spools. The sound is stored in direct form so that it can be sent to a sound emitting device without DAC. I call it Direct Sound(tm).

Re:The real discovery here: (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 months ago | (#46835559)

You can't trademark Direct Sound. Microsoft already has DirectSound.

Re:The real discovery here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46838527)

Fine.
DirectAudio.
Happy? Now pay me one bajillion dollars for infringing my patent.

Re:Old phone cords? (5, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | about 2 months ago | (#46834833)

No, it's a new shape, dammit!

I have also invented several new shapes. One of them, I draw part of a circle, and then it turns into a squiggly line for a while, and then a quarter of a square, followed by a third of an asymptote. Another time, I drew 3 squiggly lines connected to a 4th line that was almost straight but still a little squiggly. I call it a squiggle-square.

Re:Old phone cords? (4, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 months ago | (#46834981)

No, it's a new shape, dammit!

I have also invented several new shapes. One of them, I draw part of a circle, and then it turns into a squiggly line for a while, and then a quarter of a square, followed by a third of an asymptote. Another time, I drew 3 squiggly lines connected to a 4th line that was almost straight but still a little squiggly. I call it a squiggle-square.

By the Gods boy, where are your patents?

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 2 months ago | (#46835355)

Hey, I prefer to call them Drunkles, or squnks in a pinch. Alcohol and sketch tablets make strange bedfellows.

Re:Old phone cords? (4, Funny)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 months ago | (#46835479)

I followed your instructions, but I only got a sketch of Homer Simpson.

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about 2 months ago | (#46835907)

I did the same and got something that looks like a cross between a fish and a lightbulb. Coincidence? [wikia.com]

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 months ago | (#46835703)

It's like this one song I came up with that was just one note over and over, but every now and again you bend it a little.

Re:Old phone cords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46838533)

I call it a squiggle-square.

DAMN IT!

*sigh*

How much for a license to use it?

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 2 months ago | (#46834875)

They spent a fortune on getting someone to CAD that up instead of just taking a picture of a telephone cord.

Re:Old phone cords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834933)

Fun fact. To make them retractable, the spiral is reversed when manufactured.

Re:Old phone cords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46836577)

Where was the fun part?

Re:Old phone cords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834975)

Perhaps these "physicists" just started college and grew up without cords.

Re:Old phone cords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834985)

It's only a new shape because these damn scientists don't know what a corded handset is/was.

Re:Old phone cords? (2)

gatkinso (15975) | about 2 months ago | (#46835099)

That is exactly what I thought the moment I saw this.

Kids these days.... sheesh.

Re:Old phone cords? (2)

jovius (974690) | about 2 months ago | (#46835127)

Now re-create that technological relic with two joined flat and straight surfaces by simulating a natural growth pattern, and maybe apply what you found to study plant root formation for example. The summary is a bit over the top, but the science is sound in the experiment anyway. This deepens understanding how nature has worked out the mechanics of the helical forms.

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835239)

The "New Shape" part is the overstatement. Fortunately the absurd part is limited only to the Slashdot title; the actual paper seems pretty level headed and interesting. Sound science I agree.

Re:Old phone cords? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835211)

Exactly what I thought when I saw the pictures, but you're already modded up to 5, so you get a "me too" post!

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 2 months ago | (#46835563)

And I always had a hell of a time getting that little kink out...

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#46835675)

Yeah, that's exactly what i was thinking. It looks exactly like the tangles my corded desk phone gets.

Re:Old phone cords? (5, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 months ago | (#46835677)

You're missing the point of the paper. The paper is not there to show "new shapes" that is the reporter that clearly doesn't understand what's going on saying that.

The paper explains HOW these things happen and HOW specific shapes can be modeled (aka calculated or created on purpose) in function of various forces and aspect ratios. They for example, show how to consistently get such a 'kink' (perversion) like the one in your phone cord on every "turn".

Re: Old phone cords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46837669)

Now if they could show how to get those perversions _out_ of phone cords, or prevent them altogether, that would be something!

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46836151)

and I thought you were just being an asshole

until I looked at the pics.

Re:Old phone cords? (0)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 months ago | (#46836171)

Yeah. The shape is definitely not new.

It sounded weird from the beginning.

Guess it may be new to someone born after 2000 though =P (If that's the place I've seen it too.. I assume it's common on that there are likely more places where one side is stiffer than the other.)

Re:Old phone cords? (0)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 2 months ago | (#46837257)

I'm glad this was the first response. It's the first thing I thought of too when seeing the image on FB. (From "I fing love science")

Re:Old phone cords? (2)

garyebickford (222422) | about 3 months ago | (#46837423)

Also rubber band airplanes. Wind them up, at one point you get exactly that shape. IDK if the math of the shape was ever explored though. Oftentimes 'discoveries' are things that we, the great unwashed, saw all the time but never noticed. And that's OK - we need people who say, "That's funny..."

Re:Old phone cords? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#46838623)

And just think of all that time people spent trying to 'un-pervert' their phone cord. Of course it seemed more annoying than perverted at the time.

New? (5, Insightful)

ntshma (864614) | about 2 months ago | (#46834669)

My telephone cord at work has been like this for years.

Re:New? (4, Funny)

Stele (9443) | about 2 months ago | (#46834777)

But it's on the Internet...

Re:New? (2)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 2 months ago | (#46834799)

My telephone cord at work has been like this for years.

If only any of us had thought of a catchy name for that shape, rather than cursing when we tried to use the phone, we would be on the cover of Slashdot too.

Re:New? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#46834879)

we would be on the cover of Slashdot too.

We keep getting richer, but we can't get out picture ... ;-)

Re:New? (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#46835715)

I bought five copies for my mother.

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835357)

Telehelix?

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834817)

My desk phone cord looks like a normal helix... then again, I am an intovert...

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834893)

These researchers are unfamiliar with what a telephone cord is. Please enlighten them.

Re:New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835843)

These researchers are unfamiliar with what a telephone cord is. Please enlighten them.

I tried but then I couldn't resist strangling those scientists with the telephone handset cord.

Re:New? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#46834953)

The method looks like the method used to make a katana...

Re:New? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#46834959)

To be fair, the abstract doesn't say anything about a new shape, nor do I see anything in the introduction.

Re:New? (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#46835079)

To be fair, the abstract doesn't say anything about a new shape, nor do I see anything in the introduction.

Kinda yes, kinda no:

More generally, we introduce the term hemihelix to describe multiple reversals in chirality connected by perversions.

So, they've come up with a term to describe this.

And, lest anybody think they were unaware of the phone cord thing:

Although perversions can also be introduced manually, for instance, by the simple operation of holding one end of a helical telephone cord fixed and twisting the other in a direction counter to its initial chirality

So, they know that people have seen this. They seem to be the ones introducing the term they've applied to describe it.

A new name to an old shape, but mostly they've figured out how to predict it, and then hopefully how to plan for it to build specific shapes.

Re:New? (1)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | about 2 months ago | (#46835309)

Someone christened this the "Bell Knot" at least as early as 2006, so it's not even a new name: http://cr4.globalspec.com/blogentry/105/The-Mysterious-Bell-Knot-Challenge [globalspec.com]

---Chip

Bell Knot (1)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | about 2 months ago | (#46835323)

Well, they're no the first to TRY to name it.

Re:New? (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 3 months ago | (#46837923)

Well you should have published a paper about it :)

How is this a New Shape? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834679)

I see it in my Desk Phone Cord all the time.

My phone cord has done this for decasdes (1, Insightful)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | about 2 months ago | (#46834681)

Somehow I don't think a perversion is a new shape.

Re:My phone cord has done this for decasdes (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 months ago | (#46834691)

But it can be.

Re:My phone cord has done this for decasdes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834761)

This seems like a great instance of generation gap. The researchers may never have seen a phone cord before! I just want to know if they can restore the twisted cord to the original cord shape.

Re:My phone cord has done this for decasdes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834907)

If done properly it is. ;-)

Re:My phone cord has done this for decasdes (1)

internerdj (1319281) | about 2 months ago | (#46835849)

What is with these young people and their new fangled preversions? I guarantee you there were no perversions going on in my house growing up even when we had a corded phone.

i always get those in wires (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834683)

looks like the same thing that i used to get in phone cords.

Phone (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834689)

Looks like what happens when an old-school phone cord gets tangled.

Telephone cord (1, Funny)

myth24601 (893486) | about 2 months ago | (#46834711)

From looking at the picture, it looks like what the telephone cord would eventually look like on the kitchen extension when I was a kid. (before everyone had cordless phones). Older people here might recall seeing mom get tangled up in the thing while gabbing away and cooking at the same time, she would eventually have to twirl around to extricate herself and hang up the phone.

Score: -1, Redundant (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#46834713)

My old phone cord.... never mind.

Re:Score: -1, Redundant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834763)

What's a "phone cord", grandpa? Is that the lanyard you use to keep from dropping your eyePhon ?

Re:Score: -1, Redundant (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#46835283)

At the banks they used to tie phones down to the desks with cords so that customers wouldn't walk off with them.

Re:Score: -1, Redundant (2)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 2 months ago | (#46835093)

From TFA:

"Although perversions can also be introduced manually, for instance, by the simple operation of holding one end of a helical telephone cord fixed and twisting the other in a direction counter to its initial chirality, perversions occur in nature during growth and as illustrated by the example of the attached plant tendril a single perversion forms."

Re:Score: -1, Redundant (2)

bughunter (10093) | about 2 months ago | (#46835601)

Mod Parent up, I'm gonna post instead.

perversions can also be introduced manually, for instance, by the simple operation of holding one end of a helical telephone cord fixed and twisting the other in a direction counter to its initial chirality

This explains why I must keep my phone on the left side of my desk to avoid tangling the handset cord. When it's on the right, I give the handset nearly a full twist to get it from the cradle to my left ear (to keep my right hand free for writing/mousing) -- and then another twist back to set it back down on the cradle. Since I'm grabbing with my right hand, the right hand twist is "counter to its initial chirality," which is left handed for most cords I've seen. (Left hand rule - wire coiling in the direction of the left fingers advances in the direction of the left thumb.) After only a few months, it's twisted into such a perverted state, it won't stretch without tangling, and I have to replace it.

Keeping the phone on the left seems to prevent this... the half turn picking up the phone is left-handed, concurrent with the chirality of the coil. Also it's closer to a half twist than a full twist.

Nice to finally have an answer to why this works the way it does.

New Shape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834715)

So they have discovered liquorice?

Shocked? Really? Were they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834719)

Curly phone cords form these hemihelix 'perversions' all the time.. They drive me nuts and I obsess over working them out of the cord. So.. Thanks science! You can make a phone cord that will cause my head to explode from all the perversion.

New Shape? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834729)

Two Words: "Phone Cord"

Here's a YouTube Video of it (2)

Nova Express (100383) | about 2 months ago | (#46834745)

This will be a little easier to view. [youtube.com]

Not seeing anything groundbreaking off the top of my head...

Re:Here's a YouTube Video of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834957)

"All comments are disabled for this video."

Must be trying to stop the inevitable looks like my old phone cord jokes.

Re:Here's a YouTube Video of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835187)

...looks like my old phone cord...

That's what she said!

Re:Here's a YouTube Video of it (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#46835745)

A rabbi walks into a bar, holding a phone cord...

Related videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46838447)

Did anyone else get Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" as a related video?

Like 70's Phone Cords... (1)

IgnacioB (687913) | about 2 months ago | (#46834747)

So, I was doing this myself when I spent hours and hours trying to be caller #3 to the radio station tangling up my parents phone cord? And there is an easier way to remove that perversion than unwinding the hole thing? Next somebody is going to tell me I was making graphene when I first used the big boy pottie.

Re:Like 70's Phone Cords... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#46834843)

So, I was doing this myself when I spent hours and hours trying to be caller #3 to the radio station tangling up my parents phone cord?

Unfortunately, TFA looks slashdotted. I assume 'new shape' means a new geometry nobody has cataloged before? Maybe it never occurred to someone that it was a distinct shape? That or the phone cord analogy I'm seeing here isn't quite accurate.

Next somebody is going to tell me I was making graphene when I first used the big boy pottie.

No, more like dark matter [comicvine.com] . ;-)

Two strips one cup (4, Funny)

PNutts (199112) | about 2 months ago | (#46834791)

No thanks.

Seemed cool at first.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834805)

But on closer inspection it looks more like something on redit's /mildlyInteresting.

Going for an Ignobel Prize? (2, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#46834835)

Maybe I'm missing something here too. Looks like a twisted up rubber band to me. Although I'm pretty sure I invented a new shape the first time I used monofilament fishing line.

Re:Going for an Ignobel Prize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46836635)

It's hard to say you invented it if you can't reproduce it.

Doesn't occur in nature? (0)

BronsCon (927697) | about 2 months ago | (#46834837)

Sure looks like the same shape squid tentacles make when you bread and deep fry them. Have these guys never had calamari? Or maybe just the crappy "rings only" stuff you get at most "trying to be more upscale" chain restaurants?

Re:Doesn't occur in nature? (2)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 months ago | (#46835595)

If your calamari turns into rubber bands, you're probably overcooking it.

WMV fail (2)

eddy (18759) | about 2 months ago | (#46834839)

Windows Media Video 9 files without any identifying suffix in the downloadable archive. Good going.

Assholes.

Re:WMV fail (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 months ago | (#46835605)

A new meaning to platform agnostic. Just leave off the file extension.

a hemihelix has multiple perversions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834865)

like a pervert? eww.. gonna take a shower now.

Screw the phone cords... (1)

Onuma (947856) | about 2 months ago | (#46834883)

Bacon started this.

And underwear elastic furthered it.

Re:Screw the phone cords... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834911)

Don't forget about complex strings of proteins and amino acids that seem to defy the laws of thermodynamics...

Re:Screw the phone cords... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#46834945)

Don't forget about complex strings of proteins and amino acids that seem to defy the laws of thermodynamics...

You mean Cheez Whiz?

Re:Screw the phone cords... (1)

Onuma (947856) | about 2 months ago | (#46834949)

The Supreme Court of Thermodynamics clearly overturned those laws.

I used to be a Physicist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834899)

but then I took a phone cord to the knee. HURRDURR

So funny how every freaking comment is the same dumb joke.

And we have a strong contender... (4, Funny)

OneAhead (1495535) | about 2 months ago | (#46834901)

Handily in time to contend for the 2014 Ig Nobel price [improbable.com] .

Obligatory /. comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834913)

Correlation does not imply causation.

The usual story: flawed summary (4, Informative)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 2 months ago | (#46834917)

I don't see anything in the paper claiming to have found "a new shape". It also isn't clear why the word "shocked" is used, other than perhaps the results was unexpected. I guess an excerpt from the paper sums it best:

A recent, simple experiment using elastomer strips reveals that hemihelices with multiple reversals of chirality can also occur, a richness not anticipated by existing analyses. Here, we show through analysis and experiments that the transition from a helical to a hemihelical shape, as well as the number of perversions, depends on the height to width ratio of the strip's cross-section. Our findings provides the basis for the deterministic manufacture of a variety of complex three-dimensional shapes from flat strips.

Re:The usual story: flawed summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835027)

That don't get the clicks, bitch.

Re:The usual story: flawed summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835327)

The title is basically buzzfeed for science.

Re:The usual story: flawed summary (2)

RoverDaddy (869116) | about 3 months ago | (#46838399)

The title is basically buzzfeed for science.

"Which Perverse Hemihelical Chirality are you? Take this quiz to find out!"

My Underwear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46834919)

I invented that with the elastic on my underwear years ago, in fact I'm still wearing the same underwear as evidence of my invention!

Indeed, New ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835017)

Yep, looks like a phone cord to me. I don't see what's so 'new' about it. Are these Scientists trolling us ?

I want their job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835045)

I want a job where I get paid to play with rubber bands and make new shapes.

Re:I want their job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46835251)

I want a job where I get paid to play with rubber bands and make new shapes.

You really don't. Trust me.

This shape (2)

magsol (1406749) | about 2 months ago | (#46835227)

literally ruins slinkys.

Re:This shape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46837613)

looks like it ruined your linksys.

Not a new shape, a new method (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 2 months ago | (#46835287)

So it's safe to say that the summary is botched, however, that does not mean that the article is not still interesting enough to be deserving. What we have is an unexpected outcome to an experiment. They created a known structure using a new method, where the method of creation may make the shape promising to engineering applications.

I did that before (1)

Theovon (109752) | about 2 months ago | (#46835685)

I swear I remember doing this exact thing when I was a kid.

Sounds like ... (1)

NoseBag (243097) | about 2 months ago | (#46835707)

Hemihelix Perversion. That sounds so ... dirty.

My mind is a raging torrent of possible meanings. But I will spare you all.

Cook any bacon lately? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#46836727)

Then you too have seen this shape.

Science happens best when... (-1, Flamebait)

Wasusa (1633263) | about 2 months ago | (#46836833)

People go: This is going nowhere and I'm bored. I wonder what happens if I do with It's why my desk is always cluttered. Or at the very least, it's my justification for not tidying it.

Balsa Airplanes (2)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about 3 months ago | (#46838453)

I was getting shapes like that from rubber band powered balsa wood airplanes back in the 80's during both winding and unwinding. Regarding the unwinding, I used to love testing the thrust a few times to see if there was a magical way to wind it to get more airflow and for longer. I'm sure older people have witnessed similar many years prior. Nothing new here.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...