Manipulate molecules on your iPad,

Issued: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 13:29:00 GMT

"It might look like an abstract video game, but this iPad app is actually a new tool for manipulating molecules. Optical tweezers use laser beams to move tiny particles in 3D space - but controlling them via a mouse or joystick can be a painstaking process, especially when working with more than one particle. Now, researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Bristol, UK, have developed a better solution that takes advantage of the iPad's multi-touch technology.

The app streams images over WiFi from a computer-controlled microscope equipped with an optical tweezers system. Double tapping the screen creates an optical trap, grabbing any particles at that point. The traps are represented by circles that can be shrunk or expanded by squeezing or stretching, with the size of the circle corresponding to the height of the particle in 3D space. Users can have up to 11 optical traps on screen at a time -  allowing them to manipulate multiple particles simultaneusly - while tilting the iPad moves the microscope around."

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