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Toys Science

Lego Blocks Simulate Microfluidic Filters 26

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-slice-they-dice-they-make-julienne-fries dept.
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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Lego Blocks Simulate Microfluidic Filters

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  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • 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?

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

  • its plinko (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

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

  • Way Cool (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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

  • Lurve those things.

  • by johnthorensen (539527) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @12:11PM (#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.
    • by Speare (84249)

      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

    • by eh2o (471262)

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

  • by R2.0 (532027)

    Is there anything they can't do?

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

  • I'm impatiently waiting for Construx quantum physics and Lincoln Log genetics.

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