Monday, February 13, 2012

A robotic arm totally made out of Legos

As kids most of us have had our hands on some or the other sort of Lego kits. Although if you haven't been keeping up, Lego kits have come a long way. With the 'Lego Mindstorms' series you can almost build anything out of it, all you need is imagination and the right skill to assemble the parts.

A guy named Max Shepherd uploaded a video on YouTube titled 'Lego Robotic Arm' where he demonstrates his creation of what he calls a 'Lego Prosthetic Arm'. Similar to what the title claims the arm has a striking resemblance to the movements of a human arm. It has 12 degrees of freedom (DOF), just for your information, a normal human arm is said to have 7 DOF. The arms incorporates lego pneumatic cylinders. Although the movements are pretty slow but are fair enough to look human like. It can lift a couple ponds of weight and pour a drink for you.

The thing that sets this robotic human arms different from the others is; anyone can actually build one with the lego parts that have been used. Unfortunately Max Shepherd hasn't reveled a lot of details online except for the video and a little description, but anyways his work is really worth appreciating.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recording Data through heat could lead to faster magnetic Hard Drives

When it comes to computer components like processor, RAM and graphics everything is getting faster and cheaper than ever before, the only thing that's not keeping up with speeds is data storage devices, although we have SSDs but they don't have a lot of space and it is seen that they tend to degrade in performance over time. As a result the good old magnetic hard drive is still the choice for many, because its cheaper and has more storage space than existing SSD for the price.

All that being said, an international team of scientists have demonstrated a revolutionary new technology of magnetic recording which will allow information to be processed hundreds of times faster than by current hard-drive technology. The multinational team of scientists and researchers from countries which include Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Japan and the Netherlands. Experimental work for the research was carried out at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Radboud University Nijmegen, in Netherlands.

It was found that data could be recorded by using heat which was never thought of before. Existing hard drive and other magnetic storage devices use a magnetic field to bring changes in the polarity of magnetic domains within the hard drives metallic plate, but there is a limitation to the speed of writing and reading the data. Until now it has been believed that in order to record one bit of information by inverting the poles of a magnet  there is a need to apply an external magnetic field. The stronger the applied field, the faster the recording of a magnetic bit of information.