Let's get small. Real small.
Artist and engineer Jonty Hurwitz has created a series of nanoscale sculptures so small that they can only be viewed via electron microscope.
That's pretty impressive in and of itself, but we've seen various nanoscale artwork before. What's kind of eye-popping is how detailed, sophisticated and frankly gorgeous Hurwitz's microscopic sculptures are.
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Billed as "the smallest creation of the human form in history," the sculpture titled "Trust" - pictured above - is approximately 80 x 20 x 100 microns. That's smaller than a human hair, as you can see, and according to Hurwitz's surreal project page, approximately equals the the amount your fingernails grow every five or six hours.
The sculptures are created using a new kind of 3D printing technology called multiphoton lithography. It gets complicated, but essentially the forms are created with light. Using specific ultraviolet wavelengths, Hurwitz and his team use a computer-controlled system to create each 3D pixel - called a "voxel" - and move them incrementally into place. "Slowly, over hours and hours the entire sculpture is assembled pixel by pixel and layer by layer," Hurwitz explains on the project page.
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Hurwitz used live models and an image capture system to create a digital framework for the initial forms. Other sculptures in the series are perhaps even more startling. "Intensity" depicts an eerie tumble of seven mannequin-like figures, while "Cupid and Psyche: The First Kiss" is a recreation of an 18th century Italian sculpture from the Louvre.
"Take a moment to consider that only 6,000 years ago we were painting crude animal images on the walls of caves with rocks," Hurwitz says. "This nano sculpture is the collective achievement of all of humanity. It is the culmination of thousands of years of R&D."
Sure, let's go with that. For more details, check out Hurwitz's behind-the-scenes video: