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Texas Tech, U of Utah win Sandia microdevice competition
Date:6/15/2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. The world's smallest chess board about the diameter of four human hairs and a pea-sized microbarbershop were winners in this year's design contest for, respectively, novel and educational microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), held at Sandia National Laboratories in mid May.

The two winning teams will see their designs birthed in Sandia's microfabrication facility, one of the most advanced in the world.

The micro chess board, created by students at Texas Tech, comes with micropieces scored with the design of traditional chess figures. Each piece is outfitted with even tinier stubs that allow a microrobotic arm to move them from square to square. Space along the side of the board is available to hold captured pieces.

The microbarbershop, intended to service a single hair, employs a microgripper, cutter, moveable mirror and blow dryer designed by students at the University of Utah. "Our device is so small that a single misty drop of an Irish drizzle would swamp the scissors and drown the device," says team advisor Ian Harvey, a professor of mechanical engineering at the university.

The high-spirited contest, open to institutional members of the Sandia-led MEMS University Alliance program, provides an arena for the nation's student engineers to hone their skills in designing and using microdevices. Such devices are used to probe biological cells, arrange and operate components of telecommunications and high-tech machinery and operate many home devices.

The contest helps develop a sense of the maximum and minimum displacement of a micro object, the amount of force needed to move it and the degrees of freedom needed for a part to accomplish its preset task.

The two winning teams will see their designs birthed in Sandia's microfabrication facility, one of the most advanced in the world.

The micro chess board, created by students at Texas Tech, comes with micropieces scored with th
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Contact: Neal Singer
nsinger@sandia.gov
505-845-7078
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Source:Eurekalert  

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Texas Tech, U of Utah win Sandia microdevice competition
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