These nickel microparticles measure just half a millimeter wide, not nearly large enough to outfit with any kind of electronics. So how do physicists Alexey Snezhko and Igor Aronson of the Argonne National Laboratory manage to control them? By applying their liquid environment with an alternating magnetic field, which causes them to assemble into spiky circle shapes. Apply a second magnetic field and you’ve got motion. These circles, or asters, can even be manipulated to open their “jaws” and carry objects up to four times their size or team up with other asters to form a kind of mini-vacuum cleaner to suck up nearby particles.