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Scientists 3D print microscopic Star Trek spaceship that moves on its own

A team of physicists at a university in the Netherlands have 3D-printed a microscopic version of the USS Voyager, an Intrepid-class starship from Star Trek.



Scientists replicated a microscopic version of Star Trek's USS Voyager.


© Rachel Doherty and Samia Ouhajji
Scientists replicated a microscopic version of Star Trek’s USS Voyager.

The miniature Voyager, which measures 15 micrometers (0.015 millimeters) long, is part of a project researchers at Leiden University conducted to understand how shape affects the motion and interactions of microswimmers.

Microswimmers are small particles that can move through liquid on their own by interacting with their environment through chemical reactions. The platinum coating on the microswimmers reacts to a hydrogen peroxide solution they are placed in, and that propels them through the liquid.

“By studying synthetic microswimmers, we would like to understand biological microswimmers,” Samia Ouhajji, one of the study’s authors, told CNN. “This understanding could aid in developing new drug delivery vehicles; for example, microrobots that swim

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This microscopic 3D-printed Star Trek Voyager can move on its own

Physicists from Leiden University have 3D-printed a miniature version of an Intrepid-class starship from Star Trek (via PC Gamer). The idea of a tiny starship is probably something you haven’t considered outside of the plot of a Star Trek episode, but this microscopic model is actually part of a larger research experiment the physicists published in the scientific journal Soft Matter.

The five micrometer long ship looks like the USS Voyager and was microprinted by the physicists for their microswimmer research. Unlike the impulse engines and warp drive of its TV counterpart, this Voyager is propelled through liquid by chemical reactions between its platinum coating and the hydrogen peroxide solution the physicists placed it in. Their article notes that these studies usually use sphere-shaped models for tests, so the more out-there shapes you see here were intended to produce different results and push the limits of the

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Luminous Zebra Fish Wins Contest for Microscopic Photography

The human eye is a limited organ. The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see is about 0.0035 percent of the total light in the universe. Without any aid, a normal human eye with 20/20 vision can clearly view up to only about five kilometers (about three miles) in the distance and can distinguish an object as small as about 0.1 millimeter. Just as spyglasses and telescopes extended our range of sight across Earth and into the cosmos, light microscopes allow us to peer at scales hundreds of times smaller than we would otherwise be able to detect. Such technology has bred innumerable discoveries in medicine, biology, geology and plant science.

For 46 years, camera company Nikon has run its Small World contest, which prizes excellence in photography at the tiniest scales—achieved with the aid of the light microscope. Scientists make up a substantial proportion of contest entrants

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