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Tiny 'jungle gyms' pop into 3D

Researchers in the US say they have developed a technique to build miniscule electronic scaffolds in three dimensions.

Their aim is to merge biology with electronics, by creating "jungle gyms" for growing, monitoring and stimulating live cells.

The method begins with a flat silicon cut-out which is stuck onto a stretched rubber platform at carefully chosen points.

When the rubber shrinks again, the silicon template blossoms into its designed shape like a children's pop-up book.

The shapes are all less than 1mm across and the silicon is just 0.001mm thick.

Video simulation courtesy of Prof John Rogers, University of Illinois