Physicists from Leiden University have 3D printed a miniature version of the Intrepid Class starship in Star Trek. The miniature model is actually part of a larger study published by physicists in the scientific journal Soft Matter.
The five-micron-long spacecraft, which looks like voyager, was printed by physicists for their miniature research. The “starship” is driven in the liquid by a chemical reaction between its platinum coating and the hydrogen peroxide solution placed in it by physicists. The researchers note in the paper that these studies are often tested using sphere-shaped models, so the better shapes seen here are designed to produce different results and challenge the limits of the researchers’ 3D printers in the process.
Microswimmers, a micron robot, is a broad scientific category used to classify organisms and objects moving in liquids. Bacteria or white blood cells can be thought of as “miniature swimmers,” but synthetic objects created for research can also be models of miniature intrepid starships or 3D Benchy, a tugboat often used to test 3D printers. Leighton physicists also included it in their tests.
The study of synthetic “micro-swimmers” should be designed to gain insight into their natural counterparts, but futurists have also imagined a possible future in which synthetic “micro-swimmers” could become part of a targeted delivery system for drug therapy and other therapies. D microprint models may potentially help with further experiments, and the unusual shapes used may provide the ability to get more “design” type of motion from “mini-swimmers” instead of traditional spheres and cylinders.