Dec 27, 2017 | By Tess

While you may have been unwrapping new sweaters and socks this Christmas, Pope Francis was receiving what could very well be the world’s tiniest nativity scene. The nanoscale gift, which is so small it can reportedly sit on a human eyelash, was 3D printed by researchers at Lithuania’s Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU).

The nativity scene itself is based on the iconic scene at Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania, which comprises of the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the three wise men, granger animals, and more.

In fact, a team of 30 researchers from VGTU’s Laser Research Center painstakingly 3D scanned every element of the full-scale nativity scene and converted the 3D scan data into scaled-down 3D models.

The 3D printed nativity scene, which is 10,000 times smaller than the original (the baby Jesus is apparently smaller than a human cell!), was appropriately named “NanoJesus.” It was additively manufactured in collaboration with Vilnius-based micro-fabrication company Femtika and local 3D printing company Ideja 3D.

VGTU and its partners say they 3D printed five copies of the tiny nativity scene over the last three months, one of which was gifted to Pope Francis by Lithanian president Dalia Grybauskaite on behalf of the Baltic country. We sure hope the Pope had a microscope on hand to truly appreciate the 3D printed creche.

Two of the other 3D printed nativity scenes were given to Lithuania’s Presidential Palace and the Vilnius Archdiocese. The two remaining copies will supposedly be made available to the public, presumably through some sort of display or exhibition.

And though they are confident that what they have created is the world’s smallest nativity scene, the Vilnius researchers are still awaiting the final certification from Guinness World Records. Considering the scene is not discernible to the naked eye, we’re pretty sure they have it in the bag.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite with the microscopic 3D printed nativity scene

(Images: NanoJesus)

The technological gift precedes a planned visit by the Pope to the Baltic states in 2018. Lithuania is hoping to not only impress the Pope with the 3D printed nativity scene but to also promote itself as a hub for innovation and 3D printing technology.

Interestingly, this is not the first time Pope Francis has been associated with the 3D printing community, as a miniature 3D printed replica of the religious leader was released in 2015, and the Pope even blessed a number of 3D printers which were sent to Africa for the purpose of producing prosthetics.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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