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Made by an ELF®

Electric Labour Fabrication
  [vote for,

Make an exoskeleton which communicates all your movements in a VR kind of way and link it to a half-scale model of yourself, with all the joints and so forth. Get into the VR exoskeleton thingy and, as the midget-sized avatar, make a scale model of your elf, but interfacing it to the first exoskeleton. Do that and switch off the first. As the quarter-sized gnome, do the same again, and so on until you get a tiny model of your elf wherewith you can interact.

Forget the larger models and proceed to make microelectronic devices using a hammer and anvil, potter's wheel, glass-blowing and so forth, in other words traditional craft techniques.

Then, box up your lovingly crafted super-high tech PDA, cellphone or whatever and stamp "Made by an Elf®" on the side - Electric Labour Fabrication.

nineteenthly, Feb 12 2010

Feynman: Plenty of Room at the Bottom (1959) https://web.pa.msu....man_plentySpace.pdf
Search for "A hundred tiny hands". [jutta, Sep 15 2022]


       Somethings don't scale. Also the basic concept is well known.
MechE, Feb 12 2010

       Depends. Whereas it may not be possible to practice carpentry, for example, of the same kind as our scale of carpentry on a splinter as well as a plank, new manual techniques can be developed which are nonetheless different. It would also be interesting to ascertain what doesn't work and why.   

       I am of course no expert in micro-fluidics, but i wonder if it'd be as simple as using a less viscous fluid in some cases, so for example pottery might not work with clay as such, but that's not the only ceramic.
nineteenthly, Feb 12 2010

       I was thinking more the actuators and sensors embedded in your tele-robot.
MechE, Feb 12 2010

       I did wonder if you meant one or the other. I'm not talking microscopic people here, just ones a few centimetres high. You could have unusually large, tarsier-like eyes for example.
nineteenthly, Feb 12 2010

       A 5 centimeter tall person would have a finger joint approximately .7mm long. Finding a motor in that scale is not impossible, but would be difficult. A traditional wound motor will not, you'd probably be looking piezo actuators.
MechE, Feb 12 2010

       hmm... but you could probably approximate the "feel" of a piezo activator in larger-scale motors on the waldo. What would be odd is the translations of sound and sight into ultrasonic and ultraviolet ranges... static charge would tend toward some weird attraction/repulsion effects at that level(?)
FlyingToaster, Feb 12 2010

       You can invent it on your way down with clues from enormous books, and have hands-on experience into the bargain. Also, i have cillia in my lungs and leukocytes that seem to move OK.
nineteenthly, Feb 12 2010

       Yes, and one of the major developments in active nano-technology is the begining of approaches that actually implement protein motors like those found in cillia, but it's not even begining to be in production yet.   

       [FlyingToaster] At the ranges being discussed, I don't think those would be insurmountable, just interesting. If you scale down another few orders of magnitude, then your starting to get into the range where Vanderwalls forces are going to play a major role. This is also the range you'd need to reach to generate the highest level of circuit density currently produced by other techniques. Of course, you'd also spend most of your life to produce a fairly basic processor. A modern high end processor has up to 2000 million transistors. That's a lot of circuit paths to etch.
MechE, Feb 12 2010

       could have one of these for the inside of electronics boxes... a miniature janitor with a miniature broom to sweep dust off... maybe a lariat for spider disposal.
FlyingToaster, Feb 12 2010

       There could of course be teams of ELFs, and maybe symmetrical or otherwise strategically arranged automata (heteromata?) could do the same tasks.   

       A lariat would seem oddly floaty - good example of scaling peculiarity.
nineteenthly, Feb 12 2010


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