The Sub-Sub-Sub-Sub-Compact (It's A Ricer)

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
the sub sub sub sub compact it s a ricer

Researchers at Rice University have developed and successfully built the world’s smallest car. It has a chassis, axles and a pivoting suspension. The whole car is no more than 4 nanometers across. No idea how small that is? It’s slightly wider than a strand of DNA. A human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick. You can build a 20,000 lane highway for these cars on a strand of hair.

Other have tried making nanoscale objects that look like a car. But this is the first one that rolls “on four wheels in a direction perpendicular to its axles,” Newsoxy reports.

Now, researchers want to put the diminutive car to good use. “We’d eventually like to move objects and do work in a controlled fashion on the molecular scale,” said James Tour, a Rice University researcher who co-led the work. Eventually the researchers want to build tiny trucks that could carry atoms and molecules around in miniature factories.

Law enforcement is already alarmed: If you want to watch the car, you need to use a scanning tunneling microscope –otherwise it’s invisible. Not word on top speed, mpg, or price.

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5 of 22 comments
  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Oct 21, 2010

    Yeah, well, give it a couple of model years and it'll be six nanometers across, and weigh 1/10*10^23 grams more. And I bet they'll decontent it, too.

  • Autobraz Autobraz on Oct 21, 2010

    Make it a station wagon with manual transmission and I will buy it!

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Oct 21, 2010

    I'm disappointed. Where is "what, no Hemi?"

  • BuzzDog BuzzDog on Oct 21, 2010
    “We’d eventually like to move objects and do work in a controlled fashion on the molecular scale.” I'd be pleased if the researchers at Rice merely conquered the ability to move objects at the cellular level. Then perhaps these nanodevices could rid bodies of cancers that too often have shortened the lives of those we love, respect and admire. One can only hope that the researchers at Rice will cross paths with their cross-town academic colleagues at the University of Texas' M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Cars have given me much pleasure in my life; it would be neat to be able to say that a nanocar extended it.