Micromanipulation? There’s an app for that

Issued: Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:06:00 BST

A new technique, developed by researchers in the Optical Research Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy, that has transformed the way that microscopic objects can be manipulated is now available for download as an app from the iTunes store.

Richard Bowman, a PhD researcher, has developed a new iPad app which is will allow anyone to control a set of holographic, optical tweezers that are capable of picking up a moving single living cells around.
This technology massively simplifies and reduces the cost of micromanipulation techniques and will come in very useful for companies that are involved in single cellular manipulation such as drug developers.

The app provides an interface to the optical tweezers which are actually very small, focussed beams of light which can hold very small objects in a light trap. Once the objects are secured they can be manipulated with your finger via the iPad interface.

“As science advances, we have to find new ways of interacting with very small things, often on the micro or the nanoscale,” Professor Padgett says. “The optical manipulation technologies that we are working on are at the forefront of where optics meets other sciences and the team here are pioneering exciting futures for nano-scale science and engineering.”

There is also a video of it being used for real at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgDMcP9e5G0.

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