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Apr 01 2014

Build me a Kitty: Magnetic 3D Bricks to Build Digital Images

gausscatWhat would you say if I told you that the technology now exists for you to digitize 3D objects? Hopefully you’d say “Old news,” because that kind of thing has been around for a long time. These are different though. These are Gauss Bricks. Little magnetic building blocks that allow you to create images on your tablet.

A grid of sensors, attached to the back of a tablet, tracks the magnetic field around an arrangement of bricks. An algorithm uses this information to recreate the shape of the bricks in digital form and display it on the screen. “It’s like an X-ray camera that can see through the tablet, detecting magnets on or above the display,” says Liang.

Using different types of bricks lets you create a range of designs. Basic bricks have two styles of joints, allowing a block either to be locked to a neighbour or to bend freely. If you use more sophisticated bricks with motorised joints you can build a mechanically responsive structure, and conductive coatings can let bricks respond like a touchscreen.

I’m not sure about piling magnets on my favorite piece of electronics to ever accompany me during a poop, but if these will let me build a friend. I’m all for it.

Hit the jump for a video.

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