White Plains, New York (AP) -- 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.
PICS: IBM Movie: "A Boy and his Atom"
Each frame measures 45 by 25 nanometers -- there are 25 million nanometers in an inch -- but hugely magnified, the movie 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," 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."
IBM used a remotely operated two-ton scanning tunneling microscope at its lab in San Jose, Calif., to make the movie earlier this year. The microscope magnifies the surface over 100 million times. It operates at 450 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
The cold "makes life simpler for us," Heinrich said. "The atoms hold still. They would move around on their own at room temperature."
Scientists used the microscope to control a tiny, super-sharp needle along a copper surface, IBM said. At a distance of just 1 nanometer, the needle physically attracted the carbon monoxide molecules and pulled them to a precisely specified location on the surface.
The dots that make up the figures in the movie are the oxygen atoms in the molecule, Heinrich said.
The scientists took 242 still images that make up the movie's 242 frames.
Heinrich said the techniques used to make the movie are similar to what IBM is doing to make data storage smaller.
"As data creation and consumption continue to get bigger, data storage needs to get smaller, all the way down to the atomic level," he said.
You may also like...
Attractive Convict: Woman behind mug shot meme sets the record straight
Gator Wrangler: Deputy subdues 10-foot alligator
Science project gone bad: Teen arrested after school explosion
PHOTOS: Bikini bike wash!
Happy Reunion: Kidnapped kids taken to Cuba back with grandparents
10 News Investigators: Fondling physician keeps his license
Sinkhole Tragedy: Man sleeping in bed swallowed by sinkhole
Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures
Sex tape scandal: Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns
Prostitute Roundup: 78 arrested in online sex sting
Hurricane Watch: Monster storm... at Saturn's north pole
Neigh! Video shows man brutalizing, having sex with horse
Shake it: Harlem shake - 10 News style...
Sex blog: Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog*warning, GRAPHIC*
Nasty Nasty Dining: 10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012
APP-tastic: Download the 10 News app for your iPad
Yowtch! Teen accidentally shoots off his penis, testicle
Bikini Photos: 2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant
Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash
Sex Offender Mugshots: Look up Florida Sex Offenders here
Bikinis, mud, trucks: The Redneck Yacht Club
Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures
Outrageous mug shot galleries...
Strange: Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen
Notorious Women: Bad girls behind bars
Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots
Celebrities: The rich and famous have their own booking photos
Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots
Laughers: What's so funny mug shots
Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots
Athletes: Professional athlete mug shots
Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots
Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots
More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries