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Engineering researchers work on devices for retinal implants.

Scott Cambron spends his work day in this room, with these tools, and this machine, but you can hardly see what he makes.

Research Engineer Scott Cambron

"My titanium tacks, you can't hardly see them. They look like a spec of dust. If you drop one on the floor, you could either search for it for hours or leave it."

Cambron is a research engineer at the University of Louisville's Bioengineering department. He builds titanium micro tacks using this massive machine.

One of only three of its kind in the world, this micro-milling machine allows Cambron to fabricate tiny pieces of equipment using a number of different materials. The tacks will be used by researchers at Harvard University to attach their retinal implants to the back of a patient's eye. It's an example of the multi-disciplined field known as Bioengineering.

Cambron continues

"The doctors have to implant these into the body. Mechanical engineers would do the analysis of the structure of the device. Electrical engineers would use connections and make sure they work right." Cambron says smaller is better.

This is microfabrication. Going smaller means nanotechnology, which is tough to comprehend since it deals with structures on a molecular scale, impossible to see with the human eye.

Cambron adds

"Just the thought that we're fabricating things at the atomic scale, smaller than cells, yet larger than the atomic structure of metal or glass. We're repeating these processes."

The work will continue as researchers continue to push for f-d-a approval of the retinal implants.

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