Hi. I'm Aron Helser, the NanoManipulator project leader for 3rdTech, Inc.


3rdTech, Inc is an incubator++ which has helped me develop the NanoManipulator as a commercial product. Our web site has product information and several research examples.

The NanoManipulator started, and continues, as a research project in the computer science and physics departments at UNC Chapel Hill. It is an interface to a scanning probe microscope- with 3D rendered data and force-feedback interaction. 3rdTech has licensed the NanoManipulator from UNC, and done all the work that researchers hate to do - made a tested, documented package. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in more information.

I first proposed the project to Nick England, the CEO of 3rdTech, back in November, 1999. We thought it would make a viable product, and Nick started working on the license agreement. I started working full time for 3rdTech in May, 2000, but we didn't get the license until June. I've shown demos at several conferences since then. We announced the availability of the NanoManipulator DP 100 at the Microscopy and Microanalysis conference on August 14th, 2000, and we have sold several systems.

Most of my time these days is spent with the DeltaSphere. We've successfully specialized a 3D laser scanner for use in forensics. I'm proud of the progress we've made in making something as complex as 3D model building usable by crime scene investigators.


Hudson, T., A. Helser, D. H. Sonnenwald and M. C. Whitton (2003). "Managing Collaboration in the Distributed nanoManipulator." Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality 2003, Los Angeles, CA.

Williams, P. A., S. J. Papadakis, M. R. Falvo, A. M. Patel, M. Sinclair, A. Seeger, A. Helser, R. M. Taylor II, S. Washburn and R. Superfine (2002). "Controlled placement of an individual carbon nanotube onto a microelectromechanical structure." Applied Physics Letters 80(14): 2574-2576.

Seeger, A., S. Paulson, M. Falvo, A. Helser, R. M. Taylor, R. Superfine and S. Washburn (2001). "How does it feel to roll a molecule?" Proceedings of 45th International Conference on Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication.

"Hands-on tools for nanotechnology" A. Seeger, S. Paulson, M. Falvo, A. Helser, R. M. Taylor II , R.Superfine, and S. Washburn. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B 19, 2717-2722 (2001)

Russell M. Taylor II, Thomas C. Hudson, Adam Seeger, Hans Weber, Jeffrey Juliano, Aron T. Helser, "VRPN: A Device-Independent, Network-Transparent VR Peripheral System," to appear in Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software & Technology 2001, VRST 2001. Banff Centre, Canada, November 15-17, 2001. (PDF)

Paulson, S., A. Helser, M. Buongiorno Nardelli, R. M. Taylor II, M. Falvo, R. Superfine, S. Washburn, "Tunable resistance of a carbon nanotube-graphite interface," Science, 290, 1742-1744. ( December 2000) (PDF)

Paulson, S., M. R. Falvo, N. Snider, A. Helser, T. Hudson, A. Seeger, R. M. Taylor, R. Superfine, and S. Washburn. "In situ resistance measurements of strained carbon nanotubes." November 8, 1999, Applied Physics Letters, Volume 75, Number 19, pp. 2936 - 2938. (PDF)

Falvo, M. R., R. M. Taylor, A. Helser, V. Chi, F. P. Brooks, S. Washburn and R. Superfine (1999). "Nanometre-scale rolling and sliding of carbon nanotubes." Nature 397(6716): 236-239. (PDF)

Falvo, M., Clary, G., Helser, A., Paulson, S., Taylor II, R. M., Chi, V., Brooks Jr., F. P., Washburn, S. and Superfine, R. "Nanomanipulation Experiments Exploring Frictional and Mechanical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes." (1999) Microscopy and Microanalysis, 4(5), pp. 504-512. (PDF)

Grant, B., Helser, A., and Taylor II, R. M. "Adding Force Display to a Stereoscopic Head-Tracked Projection Display," Proceedings of VRAIS '98, Atlanta, Georgia, 1998. pp. 81-88. (PDF)

Past Classes

Things and Miscellaneous Unclassifiables


Kittens we are fostering, in June 2003

Finches and hummingbirds on the porch of our apartment, from April 21, 2000.

I've got a new camera! Take a look at some pictures from April 7, 2000 at Duke Gardens.


Fun with Java! Here's a simple applet which runs Conway's Game of Life.

Awesome Java juggling applet, which has dozens of patterns, and complete source.

Another Java juggling applet, which lets you type in a site-swap, with complete source.


The Motley Fool was the best resource for investing during the bubble. Now I'm using S&P 500 index funds, Vanguard total market funds, and the Vanguard emerging markets fund.

Other :)

Web graphics page - Backgrounds/Bullets/Icons/Lines.

Random thoughts: Descartes and knowledge: Annoying Questions

Comments? Email me.