We can micromachine
an airfoil or tool to smooth out places where coating will not stick.
The novel micromachine
"is an important step in integrating biological components into microengineered systems," comments bioengineer William O.
The silicon micromachine
measures just half the width of a human hair and crawls on legs powered by the pulsing muscle fibres of rats.
To get an idea of a micromachine
part, think of a speck of dust
prototypes use motors that are thinner than a human hair and gears that are even smaller.
The ability to laser micromachine
materials has revolutionized machining of the smallest parts with micron level accuracy.
Such a fully developed micromachine
is at least five to 10 years away, according to Paul McWhorter, manager of the silicon technologies department at Sandia.
However, transferring fully developed muscles from an organism to a micromachine
is impractical, notes Xi.
The industrial micromachine
will be used to look for and repair small cracks in jet engine turbines or within nuclear power plants.
Until researchers can surmount these materials problems, micromachine
applications will be limited.
According to Block, a new application has come from a company that wants to micromachine
a shape memory alloy to make a tactile feedback device for use in robotic gloves.