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IBM makes worlds smallest movie to show atom manipulation capabilities

A blockbuster for storage vendors
Wed May 01 2013, 13:07
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TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH GIANT IBM has shown off its ability to manipulate atoms by creating what it claims is the world's smallest movie.

IBM's research into storage has included manipulating atoms in order to increase storage density. The firm's researchers used a scanning tunnelling microscope, a device that was invented by IBM, to create a short film that shows off how it can manipulate single atoms.

IBM's 250 frame "A Boy and His Atom" movie has been certified by the Guiness Book of Records as the smallest stop-motion film. The firm manipulated atoms to depict a boy playing with a ball and jumping on a trampoline.

Although IBM's movie has given the firm's researchers some publicity, the company has been working on atomic level manipulation for some time. What IBM's film shows to a wider audience is that the firm can manipulate atoms, which is a basic requirement if it is to one day sell this technology as the basis for viable data storage products.

Andreas Heinrich, principle investigator at IBM Research said, "Research means asking questions beyond those required to find good short-term engineering solutions to problems. As data creation and consumption continue to get bigger, data storage needs to get smaller, all the way down to the atomic level.

"We're applying the same techniques used to come up with new computing architectures and alternative ways to store data to making this movie."

IBM's short movie might entertain and amaze many but rival storage vendors will see it as a sign of continuing competitiveness from the company that invented the hard disk drive. µ


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