You may have missed this one this last Valentine's Day when you were hunting for that special card to send to your special someone, or you may not have seen it. In fact, you probably couldn't have seen it because it was simply too small to see, but the good folks at phys.org have blown it up for us:
Let's face it, nano-technology was born, in a certain sense, from the advances in integrated circuitry, with more and more tiny circuits being etched into ever smaller amounts of space. The idea of building small machines to insert into humans to repair, or harm, them in a kind of Fantastic Voyage style scenario is no longer the science fiction of the 1960s, it's fast approaching fact. And when Eric Drexler wrote his now classic manifesto of the nanotechnological future, Engines of Creation back in 1986, already IBM had spelled out its name using a few xenon atoms, and AT&T's Bell laboratories had gone them one better, and actually constructed mankind's first artificial atom.
These may, perhaps, be seen as "stunts" but they were necessary steps toward the ability to engineer molecules in a certain way, to perform certain tasks, to create nano-machines. As the article notes about the creator behind this little art work:
"'The funnest part of this project is that what we do, our angle of solving micro-mechanical problems, is so different than what anyone else has done,' Barrett said. 'We're not just making small improvements.'"