3D printing isn’t something you would usually associate with a high precision device, but this one shows that it can be used to create rather intricate things when needed. The Openflexure is a microscope stage that offers a mechanical stage that can be maneuvered precisely. The optics can be swapped out so it uses anything from a webcam to a very high-powered 100x magnification lens, but still move the stage smoothly and precisely. It can be driven by turning a knob or by three small motors. The plan is that the motors will eventually be driven by the software that is being written for the device.
The project is still in the early stages, but it looks promising so far and is being led by Richard Bowman at the University of Bath, a prize fellow in the department of physics. As such, it is no surprise that it is aimed at the needs of academia, but it would also be very adaptable for anyone who was looking for a precise way to maneuver small objects in three dimensions.
[Thanks for the tip, Robert Nixdorf]