Fidget spinners are one of 2017’s hottest toys, and even after many months, it’s still in high demand. It comes in different sizes, colors, and even slightly different shapes. Now, scientists have managed to make the most innovative fidget spinner yet; their toy is invisible to the naked eye. The world’s smallest fidget spinner requires only a drop of liquid and a 3D printer, and is so tiny it is smaller than the width of a human hair.
The super-small fidget spinner was made by researchers at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, at their Oak Ridge National Laboratory located in Tennessee. Scientists used a 3D printer to print the toy, and is more impressive given that the printer managed to print at such a small scale.
Oak Ridge is known for hosting hundreds of different research projects classified in all disciplines each year. Last year, the CNMS facility was used by over 650 researchers who conducted studies, including the synthesis of nanomaterials and nanofabrication of minute objects. The equipment in ORNL which was used to create this super-small fidget spinner is called the Photonic Professional GT lithography machine from Nanoscribe. The Photonic Professional GT machine is used for the fabrication of “microswimmers” and tetrapod devices which can precisely provide drug doses for various diseases, including cancer.
Dr. Adam Rondinone is a senior staff scientist at ORNL, and he described the project in a statement, “Our job is to offer cutting-edge experiments, instrumentation, and expertise, to help other scientists to achieve their goals.”
The research center approves proposals from academics, private researchers, and other scientists twice a year. The results of projects that were approved are published publicly with open access. Moreover, the research facilities of the CNMS are free to use, as the ORNL strives to attract more talented people.
“We felt like it [the fidget spinner] would be an interesting demonstration for younger people who may not know that the federal government maintains these user facilities around the country,” said Professor Rondinone. “We work with industrial partners to help them identify fundamental science questions that we can answer and then publish in open literature, without jeopardizing their intellectual property,” he added.
What do you think about the world’s smallest fidget spinner? Take a look at the video uploaded by Oak Ridge National Laboratory on YouTube and share your thoughts!