Jesus in nanoscale nativity is smaller than a human cell

Hopefully the pope has a microscope. He's going to need it to see his Christmas gift of the world's smallest nativity scene.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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This miniscule nativity scene can easily fit into the eye of needle.

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University

There's an elaborate nativity scene in Cathedral Square in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. It depicts everything from the baby Jesus to the three wise men and a collection of animals, including sheep and a camel. Researchers at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) have now rendered that scene in nanoscale proportions and nicknamed the project NanoJesus.

The team behind the nano-nativity says it's the world's smallest, and they've submitted it to Guinness World Records for certification. The scene is 10,000 times smaller than the real-world nativity it's based on. 

The entire nativity could sit on a human eyelash, and the baby Jesus is smaller than a human cell.

It took three months and the work of 30 people from VGTU, the Laser Research Center at Vilnius University, micro-fabrication company Femtika and 3D-technology company Ideja 3D to develop and create the nativity. 

The team scanned the Cathedral Square sculptures, rendered them as 3D models and then used 3D laser printing to create five copies of the tiny scene, which can be seen only with a microscope.  

Pope Francis received one of the scenes on Friday as a gift from Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite. The nanoscale nativity would have matched up well with the UK's creation of the world's smallest Christmas card, a microscopic festive message also unveiled this week. 'Tis the season to be tiny.