back to article Atoms star in ball-bothering boffins' Big Blue movie

IBM Research has proved its worth by moving atoms across a screen to create the world's smallest movie. Big Blue has gone much better with its atomic animation A Boy and His Atom. The movie has 242 frames and lasts just under 100 seconds; any more and it would rapidly become turgidly boring, in your humble hack's opinion. Each …

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  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. C 18
      Happy

      Absolutely!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now all they need is a soundtrack.

    Atom Heart Mother perhaps?

    1. Harvey Trowell
      Boffin

      Or do they?

      It has a soundtrack, if you read the article.

      That said, I would have gone with Before Your Very Eyes by Atoms for Peace.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Or do they?

        Nah, it'd have to be Particle Man by They Might Be Giants...

        1. Harvey Trowell
          Thumb Up

          Particle Man

          Ooh, good shout. In fact, they could have just based their movie on that song, it would have lent itself very well.

  3. danR2

    These don't look like 'atoms', but the molecules which they actually are. There are two parts, if you look very carefully—which change orientation for various...pixtons? axels?—in the movie.

    Methinks there's some IBM marketing bending here. Should be called A Boy (could be a girl, for that matter) and his Molecule.

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    3. danR2
      Paris Hilton

      No, it's an artefact

      I'm mistaken completely. The apparent 'light'-source changes from area to area.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Background?

    What is the grey background made of, if not atoms? How come they don't show up as little white dots too? (Anon because this is probably a horrendously ignorant question.)

    1. danR2

      Re: Background?

      I believe it's copper. Possibly the imaging probe doesn't register conductor well, only molecules that don't conduct, or perhaps there's some tuning parameter that emphasizes Oxygen. However, as I mention above, the carbon atom is evident as a smaller item near the O, and it's not an imaging by-product. These are the CO molecules being imaged, not 'atoms'. Guinness should revise their record to 'molecule', because eventually someone is going to do this again with actual single atoms.

    2. C 18

      Re: Background?

      >What is the grey background made of...

      Copper apparently.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Background?

        Are those ripples around each atom a visible realisation of quantum probability wavefronts or just an artifact?

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    3. NukEvil
      Mushroom

      Re: Background?

      The background IS made of atoms. You can see the faint reflections of the atomic background around the actual subjects. The reasons they're so hard to see are:

      1. The microscope is not focused on the background

      2. The atoms in the actual subjects are reflecting more light than the atoms in the background, thus almost obscuring the light being reflected from the background itself.

      Explosion, because that's the only reason atoms were invented.

      1. NukEvil
        FAIL

        Re: Background?

        P.S. I wrote the above response, forgetting the fact that it wasn't a light microscope. Whoopsy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: Background?

          "P.S. I wrote the above response, forgetting the fact that it wasn't a light microscope. Whoopsy."

          LOL!

  5. WireBug
    Black Helicopters

    Aperture Science

    " At IBM, researchers don’t just read about science, we do it."

    Did anyone else think aperture science here :-)

    1. JonP

      Re: Aperture Science

      Yup, definite echoes of Cave Johnson there.

      1. Steven Raith
        Thumb Up

        Re: Aperture Science

        I now have Cave Johnsons voice in my head saying:

        "God-dammit Toby, that's why we gave you a flipbook."

  6. JDX Gold badge

    Okay, but why bother?

    Because they can.

  7. nuked
    Thumb Up

    lol bootnotes

  8. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
    Pint

    graphics

    "...lasts just under 100 seconds; any more and it would rapidly become turgidly boring..."

    Boring? Rather depends upon that to which you've become accustomed. In the early days of videogaming (early/mid 70's), I spent MANY coins playing games with scarcely better graphics - Boot Hill, Astro Race, Sub Hunt, and many others. In fact, I intend to fire up the old MAME cabinet this evening and wax nostalgic in honor of this clever creation.

    I raise my glass to boffins in general and IBM boffins in particular for this bit of cleverness. Why do something like this? Why the hell not?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So when is...

    ...the "Boy and His Atom -3D" coming out :-)

    Will then next one be a full-length feature of "The Diary of Adrian Molecule"

  10. Peter Ford

    How cold?

    "a 2 ton scanning tunnelling microscope operating at -286 degrees Celsius"

    are you sure about that temperature?

    1. AbelSoul
      Headmaster

      Re: How cold?

      perhaps when the star reaches his teens they'll do a sequel in honour of the old, Bret Easton Ellis flick, "Less Than Absolute Zero"

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: How cold?

      ""a 2 ton scanning tunnelling microscope operating at -286 degrees Celsius"

      are you sure about that temperature?"

      Google units translator strikes again?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. illiad

        Re: How cold?

        you need to read this...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scanning_tunneling_microscope

        "temperatures ranging from near zero kelvin to a few hundred degrees Celsius"

        ie, -273 C, upwards.. :)

  11. Camilla Smythe

    I Thought it was His Penis

    ..Until he bounced it.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge
    Coat

    How long before pron?

    Rule 34.

  13. Hoe
    Mushroom

    Rule 34.

    Rule 34 has already been invoked, their first movie was actually a "Two Girls and an Atom" but IBM's marketing boffs went off the idea for some reason.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feminist organisations

    "Feminist organisations are picketing Almaden ... saying there shouldn't be any gender bias in atomic-scale IT."

    But girls don't have balls.

  15. Green Nigel 42
    Pirate

    DRM'd?

    Did IBM DRM protect @ molecular level too?!

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