Red blood cell sports world's smallest moustache
Australian scientists have created the world’s smallest moustache, tiny enough to be modeled by a single red blood cell. Measuring just 5 microns wide, the micro-mo was designed to raise awareness for men’s health.
The mini ‘stache was made at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN), using the same techniques scientists use to make drugs or drug delivery systems, or tiny components for sensors, optics, or microfluidics systems.
“The process to make the moustache is akin to constructing a miniature 'Mr. Potato Head' accessory, we meticulously crafted the tiny 'Mo' by layering 3D-printed polymer resin on a tiny stalk and delicately attaching it to a single red blood cell using a micro manipulator,” said Bernie Orelup, Engineering and Operations Manager at MCN.
The blood cell was isolated from a sample taken from a volunteer donor, fixed to a gold-coated slide and then coated in a 15-nanometer-thick layer of metal, ready for its big “mo”-ment. Images of the finished artwork were captured using a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
“Why” is probably the question on most people’s lips, and it wasn’t just a matter of making mini art. It’s a bit of a publicity stunt in support of the men’s health charity, Movember, which encourages men to grow a moustache from scratch over the course of the month to raise awareness of issues like prostate and testicular cancer, as well as men’s suicide. In this case, the goal is to highlight the importance of donating blood.
“Blood donation isn’t just a way of helping your mates, it is also a great way to get to know your own health while saving a life, with every donation including a check of your heart rate, blood pressure, and we also check iron store levels in new male donors,” said Alison Gould, spokesperson for the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. “While this moustache is small, we’re hoping it can make a big impact and inspire a few men (and women) out there to give blood and do their bit for men’s health.”
Take a closer look at the micro-mo in the video below.