"They're called M-Blocks and the tiny, cubicle robots that can spin, flip and jump their way into new configurations are the brainchild of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
Read more from : http://goo.gl/N4hdIJ
The key is inserted into a cylinder called a plug which is prevented from rotating against the fixed outer part called hull because the pins don't line up inside. As the key is inserted, individual spring loaded pins are pushed up until the gap between the key pin and the driver pin reaches the sheer line. Now, the plug can rotate, voila!
For a diagram explaining how this works: http://goo.gl/IxZou
Video source: Animated: How locks works!
H/T to for the find.
Read it free: http://issuu.com/theurgymagazine/docs/issue_01
Buy a paper copy: http://www.lulu.com/shop/sam-wood-and-heather-stallard/theurgy-magazine-01/paperback/product-20606714.html
...they also have a fb page: http://www.facebook.com/TheurgyMagazine
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