Though it's unlikely that film critics will ever demand an Academy Award for IBM's A Boy And His Atom, this doesn't change the fact that the short flick is still a bloody good movie—for something that occurs on a microscopic level, anyway.
The proud holder of the Guinness World Record for World's Smallest Stop-Motion Film, A Boy And His Atom was created with the help of an IBM-invented scanning tunneling microscope. According to IBM Research's Christopher Lutz, the microscope is the first device that enables scientists to "visualize the world all the way down to single atoms."
Without going too deeply into the technical intricacies of the device, let's just say that the microscope's ability to "control temperature, pressure and vibrations at exact levels" is part of the reason why scientists were able to craft the 242 single frames of individually arranged atoms necessary for the movie. If you're curious as to how exactly they made the movie, there's also a 'making of' video available for the curious.
As charming and as mind-blowing as all this might sound, A Boy And His Atom isn't all that unique or new. Scientists at IBM have been working with stuff like this for decades. Still, it's absolutely fascinating to see science be used in such a playful capacity.
This story, "IBM makes a movie with just atoms, not large egos" was originally published by TechHive.