"Mini-Poldi" learns to kick

New star for the 2010 World Cup?

The smallest TIPP-KICK player in the world is only 6.8 mm tall. The "tip-pole" through the player's head is as thin as a human hair. © Laser Center Hannover
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Just in time for the big football World Cup in South Africa in 2010, researchers are preparing for a little less exciting micro-event: they are developing the tiniest TIPP-KICK player in the world. The scientists have already produced a figure just 6.8 millimeters (mm) in size. Only kicking the "mini-Poldi" yet. The engineers are already working on making the player fully functional.

First, the Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) and the company TIPP-KICK have made a digital image of the original character. The data serves as the basis for the minifigure, which consists of 340 layers each 0.02 mm thick, which were cured with the laser from a liquid polymer out.

Tricky miniaturization

"The miniaturization of the mechanically functioning parts is quite tricky, because the figure is made in a single step in the ready-to-play condition, " says Ulrich Klug from the LZH. "We can not send this player on the pitch yet, because under the magnifying glass, the delicate inner life of the 'Mini-Poldi' is far too fragile for the hard playing instructions with the tweezers."

And Klug weiter: "But this technical gimmick shows very vividly and plastically, which challenges we encounter in the layer-based production, especially when we advance with this method in the microcosm to functional micro components for real applications in biomedical engineering, microfluidics, Microsensor or microsystem technology produce. In most cases, a complete rethink in the design of the microcomponent is required to reach the goal. Few know what's possible with micro stereolithography and we're trying to change that with this project. "

New firing leg for mini Poldi

In order to get a handle on the problems of layer-based manufacturing, the LZH has now brought another competent partner on board: A Munich-based company wants to completely redesign the mechanical principle of the firing bone for the layer-based manufacturing process of the player. display

The further development into a real functional micro-player, taking into account the scaling effects, will again be the task of the microtechnology engineers at the LZH.

Kicker for Hannover Messe 2010 ready?

If all parts work together, the Mini-Poldi can attack and prove itself as a top scorer. The fully functional micro kicker will be presented at the Hannover Messe 2010. His big brother in original size with innovative shooting mechanics, it is perhaps more likely to admire.

(idw - Laser Center Hannover, 27.11.2009 - DLO)