World's Smallest Human Sculpture Stands on a Strand of Hair

Friday, 06 March 2015 - 5:35PM
Science Art
Medical Tech
Friday, 06 March 2015 - 5:35PM
World's Smallest Human Sculpture Stands on a Strand of Hair

Artist Jonty Hurwitz has created the tiniest human figure in the world: a nano sculpture that is too small to be seen with the naked eye, and stands atop a single strand of human hair. 

 

Sculpture

[Credit: Jonty Hurwitz]

 

Sculpture

[Credit: Jonty Hurwitz]

 

The sculpture is only 100 microns tall, the same thickness as a piece of paper. As Hurwitz puts it, "the scale is [sic] these sculptures approximately equals the amount your fingernails grow every 5 or 6 hours." In order to create this tiny sculpture, he teamed up with nanoscientist Stefan Hengsbach, who used an innovative 3-D printing technique. Hengsbach illuminated light-sensitive polymers with long wavelengths, which produced 3-D pixels.

 

The unbelievable accuracy of this technique, in addition to creating breathtaking art installations, may have applications in medicine. For example, it could be used for building miniature scaffolds for growing kidney tissue, eliminating the need for kidney transplants in some patients.

 

Another nano sculpture on a human hair by Hurwitz, called "Intensity":

 

Sculpture

[Credit: Jonty Hurwitz]

 

Cupid & Psyche on the head of an ant:

 

Sculpture

[Credit: Jonty Hurwitz]

 

Hurwitz said of the artistic and philosophical significance of these nano sculptures: "The absolute fact is this: the human eye is unable to see these sculptures. All you see is a small mirror with ... nothing on it. The only way to perceive these works is on the screen of powerful scanning electron microscope. So how can you ever know that this sculpture really exists? Your only way to engage with it is through a screen, and a mouse separating you and the art via a vacuum and a series of mathematically mind-blowing quantum processes that shower the art with particles to map its contours. Can you be sure of its existence if your basic senses are telling you that nothing is there? The line between myth and science is fine."

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