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Realistically, no. The design is very clever, but nothing is truly new here. You could have made this out of wood 200 years ago, but it would have been much bigger and less precise. Using silicon for a mechanical device is neat, but not new. All the technology in terms of the movements- springs, levers, escapements, wheels, gears- has been known for a while.

New designs are pretty much all digital (for better or for worse). If a spaceship needs a backup timepiece, it will just carry a second digital clock. If a spaceship needs a mechanical lockout, it will just do it with microswitches, solenoids, and digital logic.

Is silicon-material manufacturing now within reach of industries other than IC manufacturers and high-end watch manufacturers? If so, you could imagine all sorts of mechanical devices that will experience a renaissance now that they can be precisely designed and manufactured in tiny sizes and in huge numbers.

I suspect I just reinvented nanotechnology. For some reason, this watch article makes it feel much more real.

Have you heard of MEMS before?

There seems lots of cool applications for that, apparently also Timex is bringing out a watch which uses the technology in some way ( http://www.ablogtowatch.com/timex-silmach-watch-movements-me... ).

Also MEMS is used in DLP projectors, where lots of tiny little mirrors can be moved which seems rather amazing.

Ah, of course. Thanks. Yet another set of dots I hadn't connected.

From the Wikipedia article, one might even say this is a MEMS watch. MEMS describes devices up to 1mm having components up to 100 microns. This watch has parts as thin as 20 microns, so although it is overall larger than MEMS, its components encroach on MEMS territory.

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