Life, Magnified

06 Jun Life, Magnified

Q. What do you get when you put 25 engineers and a powerful microscope in the same room?

A. 25 engineers and a pile of parts formerly known as a powerful microscope. But in Key Tech’s rare case, you get a catalogue of bewildering images and a new weekly blog challenge too!

The Rules

At the start of every week we will post an image of some object – as viewed under our microscope. Then it’s your turn to focus your Micro-MacGyver eyes, work your mental floss, and puff that Sherlock Holmes pipe you impulse-purchased at a garage sale. Additionally, we will post the image’s magnification (and occasionally any hints that are necessary).

Post your guesses in the comments section below the image, because when you say, “I knew that’s what it was”, you’ll have to back it up! The identity of the item will be revealed in the comments on Friday and the winner will be celebrated by all. The first correct answer posted in the comments is the winner. Winner?! Yeah, we’ll send you some kind of Key Tech swag to commemorate the win.

To give others a chance, current Key Tech employees/family/pets are not eligible to win for comments posted prior to that week’s Thursday, 8am ET. So, you can still win, but everyone else gets a head start. Otherwise eligible folks that are prior winners have to wait a week to win again. You can still show off by posting guesses in the comments. These rules may change if things start to get wonky.

To provide some semblance of order, the objects we choose will fall into any of three categories:

  1. Household – this is an up-close image of something typically found in someone’s home. For example toothbrushes, an LCD screen, coffee filters, etc.
  2. Workshop – this is an up-close image of something typically found loose in the workshop of a “tinkerer”. For example, a threaded insert, linear bearing, soldering iron, etc.
  3. Key Tech – this is an up-close image of something typically found in the inner workings of a product, not commonly seen by the consumer, or something specifically unique to Key Tech. For example, a microfluidic channel or a custom connector on an embedded circuit board.

This week’s contest

Our world is a fascinating place. And our microscopic world is an absolute Tim Burton creation! So grab your first morning cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and start your week off right with these curious visual brain teasers. Now, wasting no time, the first image is below. Good luck.


6/6/2011 Image – Household Item @ 90x Magnification


Conrad Laskowski
  • Derek Meyers
    Posted at 09:57h, 06 June Reply

    That’s got to be Velcro!

  • MarkT
    Posted at 12:16h, 06 June Reply

    Looks like Velcro / hook & loop tape – the ‘hook’ side.

  • Keith Lipford
    Posted at 12:33h, 08 June Reply


  • Chris Fleck
    Chris Fleck
    Posted at 12:38h, 08 June Reply

    It has to be a jackal! ( ).

    Seriously though my vote is for Velcro as well.

  • Conrad Laskowski
    Posted at 11:42h, 10 June Reply

    Well done all, but it looks like quick-draw Derek is our winner! This is indeed the hook portion of a hook-and-loop fastener – or more commonly known by its brand name – VELCRO®.

    The name VELCRO® is actually a portmanteau of two French words: VELour, meaning fabric/velvet, and CROchet, meaning hook.

    Hook-and-loop fasteners were first discovered by Swiss engineer George de Mestral. On a walk in the woods, De Mestral observed that a flowering plant known as a cocklebur (Xanthium) had seed pods with tiny hooks on them that stuck to his dog’s fur and his own trousers. De Mestral took this subtle encounter, and derived from it the first ever prototype of hook-and-loop fasteners. Thus, modern VELCRO® can actually be considered one of the most widely known examples of biomimetic engineering to date!

    Sources: Google Translate,, and

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