Narrator: This is Science Today.
Engineer Chih-Ming Ho of UCLA is working on the
forefront of a new technology -- the creation of
extremely small machines called micro-machines.
Ho: Micro-machine is a new technology developed about say ten years ago. By using that technology we are able to make mechanical parts in the size of about a micron.
Narrator: A human hair is fifteen microns across, so these machines are actually microscopic. One practical application will be micro-sensors on airplane wings. Tiny pockets of turbulence create drag on the wing, slowing the plane down and using extra fuel. Micro-sensors connected to micro-flaps can sense and control air flow.
Ho: It's a very small sensor, and then we can use the sensor signal to control the flow and reduce the drag on the airplane.
Narrator: Ho predicts another use will be in surgery. Microscopic tubes will send out jets of air at supersonic speeds, which will act as micro-scalpels able to cut individual human cells. For delicate procedures such as eye surgery, micro-machines will be truly cutting edge. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.