An American engineer has succeeded in creating the world’s smallest foam projectile gun. It is made up of strands of DNA and is as thin as a hair.
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In absolute terms, the antsantsand even the BedbugsBedbugscould play shooting each other with bullet guns or darts in moussemousse to their size. Shooting an ant with a tiny gun is, in any case, the experiment carried out by Mark Rober, a former engineer at the NasaNasa. By collaborating with the Salk Institute in the United States, he designed the world’s smallest “Nerf” gun, named after the famous brand of children’s toy weapons that launch foam projectiles. The gun is 0.002 millimeters wide, the thickness of a human hair. It can only be viewed and manipulated using a powerful microscope.
The engineer who is passionate about this type of original creation is not his first attempt. He had already designed the largest gun NerfNerf of the world in 2016. It was functional and could propel large darts over half a football field. After this experience of gigantismgigantismit is in theuniverseuniverse from the tiny that Mark Rober launched with, first of all, a tiny functional pistol that could fit on the tip of the finger. He then designed it with students from Brigham Young University.
Still further in miniaturization
He wanted to go even further with a team from the micromechanism laboratory of the same university. Again, the new gun was functional but it was necessary to use a needle manipulated by a robotic arm under a microscope to trigger the shot. This still wasn’t enough, so it was with the Salk Institute that the engineer developed a Nerf gun using only DNA strands.
Engineer Mark Rober runs a YouTube channel where he presents his crazy science experiment concepts with a touch of humor, but where it’s actually all very serious.
© Mark Rober
The scientists managed to separate the strands and manipulate them to give them the shape of the gun and its mechanisms. The small weapon is made up of only a few thousandatomsatoms. It would be smaller than a single mitochondrion, according to the team of scientists. According to the engineer, beyond the feat, the process developed could be useful for creating molecular injection devices to directly deliver drugs to cells.
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