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IBM and the world's tiniest film

IBM has created the world's smallest film. "A Boy and His Atom" features, you guessed it, atoms as the main stars. 

IBM's film, A Boy and His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie
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Scientists have taken the idea of a film short down to new levels. Molecular levels.

IBM says it has made the tiniest stop-motion movie ever – a one-minute video of individual carbon monoxide molecules repeatedly rearranged to show a boy dancing, throwing a ball, and bouncing on a trampoline.


Each frame measures 45 by 25 nanometers – there are 25 million nanometers in an inch – but is hugely magnified. The movie (included below) is reminiscent of early video games, particularly when the boy bounces the ball off the side of the frame accompanied by simple music and sound effects.

The movie is titled "A Boy and His Atom."

Videos showing atoms in motion have been seen before, but Andreas Heinrich, IBM's principal scientist for the project, said Tuesday this is the first time anything so small has been maneuvered to tell a story.

"This movie is a fun way to share the atomic-scale world," Dr. Heinrich said. "The reason we made this was not to convey a scientific message directly, but to engage with students, to prompt them to ask questions."

Jamie Panas of Guinness World Records said Guinness certified the movie as "Smallest Stop-Motion Film."


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