Happy New Year Fives!

It's been a while, I know. Things got a little crazy for a bit but hey we're back on track and ready to start out the year strong. My new year's resolution is to give you all an amazing series of fives over the next few months. I've got some surprises in store!
1. Self-Evolving Structures
I'm sure we have all heard of 3D Printing at this point. This research, as a part of our group at lab (Dan Raviv), explored the use of materials and sophisticated printing techniques to create structures that can move, twist, and bend over time when added into a solution. This means that even if you print something as simple as a mesh fence, it can "self-evolve" into a 3D sine wave after being activated into solution. Much simpler to print and fewer restrictions on what geometries we can pull off. Check out the amazing video here. [Paper]
2. Meissner Effect - Quantum Levitation
This is one of those "watch the video first" fives posts. This video is relatively old but I think it's worth bringing up again. What you see here is a superconducting puck exhibiting "quantum locking" phenomena. The superconductor tries to sustain a constant magnetic field inside it while being exposed to an external magnetic field. This combined with some other quirky characteristics of quantum physics allows the puck to stay locked in space above the magnetic source. This is an enormously important effect that we will hopefully better be able to use (for things like transport and awesome beer coozies) once we figure out how to create cheap room-temperature super conductors. Until then, dry ice and toy trains it is! [More]
3. 3D Reconstruction Using Laser Scattering through a Pinhole
Researchers have exploited some techniques used in seeing around corners to reconstruct 3D geometry using a commercial nanonsecond laser, a photon detector, and some clever math. Long story short -- they can use the small holes to scatter laser light and measure the reflection on a hidden object on the other side with centimeter depth accuracy. That's one hell of a spy technique, huh? [more]
4. Digital Eye Exams
This app is quite simple but the execution is quit clever. Just calibrate your screen, scan the QR code with your smartphone, step back 4 meters from your computer and boom, you've got an eye chart on your desk. Use your smartphone for feedback/control and the app will give you an estimate on how bad your vision is. This + EyeNetra = who needs an optometrist? [More]
5. One Wheeled Skateboards
Okay I know there are a LOT of powered/electric skateboards out there these days but this one is a little different. First off, it's self-balancing -- just like those old Segways you remember from back in the day. Second, the wheel it uses is massive. No more eating concrete from a tiny pebble! Sure, it's a little heavy at around 20lbs but I guess it makes sense since you can off-road with this puppy too. And don't forget, it's battery powered. [More]
Fives is written by Rohan Puri