Advances in technology have given rise to an abundance of ways to share our stories. There's messaging services for the short and sharp, blogging platforms for the long-winded and, as it happens, single strands of human hair for microscopic comic strips. Created for the Exceptional Hardware Software Meeting (EHSM) in Germany next month, "Juanita Knits the Planet" is the world's smallest comic strip, detailing a day in the life of Juanita, a ten micron-tall girl-turned-robot.
The world's smallest comic strip was carved into the hair using a technique called focused ion beaming (FIB). This involves using a sharp and high-speed jet of matter, sputtering atoms onto the surface to carve out a pattern in the process.
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The FIB technique differs from that used by IBM to produce the world's smallest magazine cover last month, which was created to draw attention to what it sees as a stagnation of Moore's Law. The nanoscale magazine cover was crafted using a technique IBM calls nanopatterning and measures 11 x 14 micrometers.
In a similar vein, "Juanita Knits the Planet" found its way onto the hair not for its compelling narrative arc, but to showcase the potential of these technologies. This becomes more evident in trying to decipher the comic itself, comprising what could be described as an unintelligible series of sketches. But who are we to split hairs?
The video below offers further detail on the comic and its size.