Meanwhile in the Whitesides lab. This blog continues to cover George Whitesides in the run up to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 announcement. See earlier episodes I, II, III and IV. This year we have already been covering a new use of the Maglev here but the big breakthrough this year must have been the inventive use of bubble wrap in analytical chemistry (DOI). The publication describing it all attracted some media attention for example from NPR and newscientist. Basically, bubble wrap can be used as a cheap replacement for essay plates in places with poor medical infrastructure.
What else is new? Click-e-Bricks (DOI, Newscientist) are the next evolutionary step in soft-robots. The robots are built up from Lego pieces and can do amazing stuff. See vid below.
And how to move a ball on a flat surface? Many ways exists but in one of them the surface is covered with pneumatic pins (think pinball machine) that are operated by a Braille display (DOI).