Fluid-filled Devices Created and Inspired by Legos

There are tools used for manipulating tiny amounts of liquid, known as microfluidic devices. Typically these devices are used to stimulate human blood cells or other biological features, perform blood tests, or even detect contaminants in human blood. Microfluidic devices  are used by the biomedical field as it allows many medical tests to be accomplished on a single chip. Microfluidic devices can also be used for drug screening, glucose tests and many other purposes.

Microfluidic Device. Image Source: By National Institute of Standards and Technology, via Wikimedia Commons

However, fabricating these microfluidic devices is not easy. It requires a different configuration of interior passages, demanding a brand new design that must be molded or 3-D printed each time. In a recent report by the Journal of Micromechanics & Microengineering states that “Scientists from the University of California, Irvine have created Lego-style blocks out of a polymer called PDMS. Their bricks contained minuscule channels, half a millimeter wide, that allowed liquid to flow from brick to brick with no leaks. New devices could be created quickly by rearranging standard blocks into various configurations.”

This new technology makes it easier for scientists to create these microfluidic devices more quickly and ready for use! Check out the Tweet below from Science News to see what the fluid-ferrying Lego devices look like!

Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/construction-tiny-fluid-filled-devices-inspired-legos?tgt=nr

California’s Pioneer Cabin Tree aka “Tunnel Tree” has fallen.

Pioneer Cabin Tree - Image Source: By NX1Z via Wikimedia Commons

The Pioneer Cabin Tree also known as the “Tunnel Tree” to many, was a giant ancient sequoia with a hollowed-out tunnel through it’s base that resided in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California. This tree was hollowed-out to help increase tourism to the park during the 1880’s. Ultimately it drew thousands of visitors each year in California. This impressive and historic tree sadly toppled over on Sunday, January 8, 2017 during a period of heavy rains. 

Cars were once allowed to drive through the Tunnel Tree for a period of time. But in recent decades the tunnel was only accessible to hikers on a 1.5-mile loop in the park. 

The Pioneer Cabin tree was one of several “tunnel trees” that had been carved out and served as human amusements. The Wawona tree, in the Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park, was cut open in 1881. It fell down during a winter storm in 1969 and has been known as the Fallen Tunnel Tree since then. It was more than 2,000 years old when it fell.

Wawona Tree in 1982. Image Source: By Editor ASC Robert J. Boser via Wikimedia Commons

The Chandelier tree lives in a private Redwood grove in Leggett, CA which is north of San Francisco. The public is allowed to drive through the tree’s carved-out opening for a fee.

Chandelier Tree in Leggett, CA. Image Source: By Jled12 via Wikimedia Commons

Sequoias are known as the largest tree species in the world. They can reach diameters up to 27 feet and have shallow root systems that make them vulnerable to toppling. The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old. The giant sequoia is usually found in a humid climate characterized by dry summers and snowy winters. And they typically grow best in an elevation of 4,600–6,600 ft.

For more information regarding the Pioneer Cabin Tree’s toppling please visit this link