The world’s smallest comic strip is ion-beam etched onto a human hair

A team of artists and scientists have produced what they claim to be the world’s smallest comic strip. It’s so small you’d need a good microscope to read it if it wasn’t for some nice photomicrographs online and YouTube.

The comic strip, Julia Knits the Planet, was etched onto this single human hair using a process called focused ion beam (FIB) etching. We are told that this technique uses a very sharp and high-speed jet of matter which is produced and directed towards the hair to etch it. It’s said to be similar to a fine laser beam but we can only imagine the disaster that a hot laser beam might inflict on a human hair!

comic strip etched on a human hair

comic strip etched on a human hair

This feat of art and science was undertaken to publicise the EHSM2 (Exceptionally Hard & Soft Meeting #2) in Hamburg, Germany between the 27th and 29th June 2014. The conference hopes to push “the frontiers of open source and DIY” to help propel what is sometimes referred to as the “third industrial revolution”. Lectures at the event will be hosted by prominent international makers, hackers, scientists and engineers. Topics covered include a very wide range from nuclear engineering and chip design to Lego experiments and the art of glass making.

The collaborators on this project include Claudia Puhlfürst who produced the comic artwork, Andrew Zonenberg who did the FIB engraving and a few others listed in the YouTube publishing credits here. We are also told that the idea behind this project drew inspiration from IBM’s A Boy and His Atom which was published as “the world’s smallest movie” just over a year ago.

Human hair comic strip close-up

Human hair comic strip close-up

This story caught the Assimilator’s eye on Mashable.

Mark Tyson

Mark has worked for a number of years as a newshound on other technology news websites. He decided to write for Tech Assimilate thanks to this web site's open embracing vision of the fascinating world of personal technology. Mark has also worked in the printing and advertising industries for tens of years previously.

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