This is a tiny tiny tiny (about 0.6mm) ball bearing from a teleconverter I was repairing last night.
It just caught my eye on my desk and got me thinking… Just about every device with moving parts in our life – the microwave oven, the drill, the bicycle, the car, the lens, the clock, the car assembly line, the tanker, the roller skate, the DVD player, the air-conditioning, the JCB crane, etc… – employs this simple engineering feat: the ball bearing.
It couldn’t possibly look any simpler – just a sphere – and yet it is relied upon, for everything from micro-precision movements in hospital operating theaters, to calibrating the accuracy of artillery, to huge mega-ton earth shifting, to a remote control toy car.
Humble, humbling, genius!
[Sony a350, Sigma 105mm macro, f:3.5, 1/2sec.ISO-100 EV +0.7]