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Posted: Sep 10, 2014

2014 LEGO2NANO launches

(Nanowerk News) LEGO2NANO returns with a new challenge for young scientists from China and the UK.
Last year 32 UK and Chinese scientists successfully developed of a new type of low-cost scanning probe microscope, made out of Lego ("Nanotechnology students build low cost Atomic Force Microscope using LEGO), with the power to see objects a millionth of a metre in size. Competing in four interdisciplinary teams, they needed just a week to build a working version of an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM).
LEGO2NANO logo
The challenge in LEGO2NANO 2014 is to help bring the winning design to high school students around the world. This year’s participants – drawn from the LCN, from UCL’s Institute of Making, Tsinghua University and Peking University – are competing in Beijing to develop and develop an open-source AFM. Using Arduino, Lego, cheap 3D printable parts and local components. Many times cheaper than research-grade AFMs, these low-cost devices enable experiments to be carried out around the world, collecting a much larger volume of data to share and compare.

Participants this year focus on the development of four areas: hardware, software, crowdcrafting and crowdfunding. The aim is to achieve a working open source design for an AFM, enabling them to explore materials on a nano scale, and upload their findings to an online database. This low-cost equipment, coupled with an open science and open source approach, means that non-scientists, including high school students, can become involved in real science.
Source: London Centre for Nanotechnology
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