As things get smaller, computers, hearing aids, heart valves, and the like all need smaller parts to function — and when the screws for these products get too small to handle, you need a smaller tool! Asta Gegeckaite and a team of researchers at the Technical University of Denmark have solved at least part of the assembly nightmare created by the miniaturization trend. They created a special gripper/automatic screwdriver to assemble these tiny parts.
The article brings up some interesting points in micro-tool design, points that were even more interesting after I looked them up to find out what the heck they meant. This sentence, for instance, definitely benefited from a dictionary: “These parts are so small that gravity becomes less dominant than other forces, such as van der Waals forces, surface tension, and electrostatic energy.”
To understand the problem these people deal with, just imagine if that magnetic charge on your screwdriver picked up ALL the screws.
Quote and Photo [Assembly Magazine]