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A Boy and His Atom

by Kenny Hoeschen

In the worst CGI we’ve seen since Jar Jar Binks, IBM has created A Boy and His Atom, a tiny animated film of a young boy playing with a ball. The film follows the story of a young man and his single atom ball in their many adventures. OK, we’ll admit it’s pretty impressive that this stop-motion animation is made solely by manipulating 130 individual atoms and has been certified by Guinness as the world’s smallest movie. The team of IBM physicists used a scanning tunneling microscope cooled to nearly absolute zero, which keeps the atoms immobile enough to allow the film to be made. Each image in the film is magnified 100 million times, and each frame is just 45-by-25 nanometers.

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