Physicists from the University of Leiden have created a miniature model of the famous USS Voyager spacecraft from the fantasy universe of Star Trek on a 3D printer. The dimensions of the model do not exceed 10 micrometers, it is one-piece and does not have any moving parts or mechanisms. But at the same time it can move in some types of liquids without any energy consumption.
The new Voyager belongs to the category of micro-floating objects, the size of which allows them to easily stay afloat in liquid streams. These include, for example, red blood cells in the blood, bacteria and other living cells drifting through the vessels. In the case of the copy of the USS Voyager, the movement is carried out by a chemical reaction between the platinum-plated figure and a solution of hydrogen peroxide.
Previously, scientists have already used spherical micro-floating objects, but recently they began to actively experiment with a variety of shapes. The USS Voyager model has a very complex geometry and is designed to study the features of the movement of such microstructures in liquids. Scientists want to understand if they can be made manageable, and thereby turned into an impromptu transport. For example, for the targeted delivery of drugs in the body or for conducting experiments on living things from the inside.