Tabor paper

We talk all the time about people who did highschool/ college VEX and then went on to do X. Here is the opposite, talking about me staying in robotics forever.

Today, my research partner and I published the culmination of 3 years of work together. This is my first published robotics paper and its in Nature. (which is hard for me to explain significance of without coming off terribly)

Here are articles about the paper that are maybe a more gentle introduction.
Paywall News Article anyone with a University account should be able to see
Blog Written by Professor on Project

The TLDR of the paper is, People for centuries have known about the electromagnetic phenomena called eddy currents. Usually they are considered a minor inconvenience, occasionally they are used in a few limited applications like separating metal from trash or maglev trains. The full effects the eddy currents were largely unmodeled, so we created an equation to compute the force created by the eddy currents. With this equation we are able to fully manipulate(control and move around) a nonmagnetic(does not react to magnets) object from a distance using magnets. There is some interesting applicability using our technique to clean up the tens of thousands of pieces of space debris that are largely aluminum and destroy satellites every year. We lovingly refer to it as a tractor beam, despite there being some scientific inaccuracy in that description.

Pictures and videos on paper link, under supplements


Well done Tabor! Prestigious publication and complex science topic to tackle!



That is actually quite cool.


Maybe helpful explanation

If we were to separate all objects into 4 categories

  1. Is a magnet
  2. Is iron, ferromagnetic, reacts to magnets
  3. Is any other metal(copper, aluminum, …), doesn’t react to magnets, but can conduct electricity
  4. Is electric insulator, doesn’t react to magnets and doesn’t conduct electricity

Our work allows manipulation of category 3 without touching it, in space. (With a bunch of caveats for how far away it is, how big it is, and how conductive it is)


Tabor paper



Tbh, I was expecting high level of scientific rigor and academic discourse to last for more than five posts in this topic…

Now your only road to redemption, @DRow, would be to sneak copper balls and unobtainium magnets into 2023 Game Manual!

Buzz Lightyear marvels at Tabor invention and imagines tractor beams coming to VRC 2023 Water Game


I hear @tabor473 's follow-up research will enable one to simply change the gravitational constant of the universe


Oh… i heard he got head-hunted by tony stark.


Super cool work, I have no words to better describe it.

Quick question though: because the trash in space is moving super fast, wouldn’t the required power to alter their velocity be really high?


Ya few answers to that.

  1. We assume satellites in orbit with electromagnets so we are also going really fast as well. So the velocity relative to us isn’t nearly as high
  2. If there is a large relative velocity difference we can just wait for the object to come back around, and every time it passes us change it’s velocity a little bit. As long as we get it eventually it’s fine, and can focus on different debris in the mean time.
  3. It’s much easier to run stupid powerful electromagnets in space. Solar panels work better, and without an atmosphere you can super cool your magnets, and get really good conductivity and almost no heat loss.

Very cool, published in Nature is a big deal. I remember when you were not the best poster two lifetimes ago, happy to see that you’ve grown so much and have taken your skills to to such a high level. Congrats, I along with many others are super proud of your accomplishment. We are also waiting for your next act, since this is not a destination, but a trajectory.


Well said, Foster.

An amazing accomplishment, Griffin (@tabor473). Does this mean the old “anti-grav” motors from Cody game design challenge videos hold water now? :eyes: :eyes:


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