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earlier burfling | later burfling

Magic carpet ride?

The BBC reports that a group at Princeton University has a working prototype ... of a flying carpet:
The 10cm (4in) sheet of smart transparency is driven by "ripple power"; waves of electrical current driving thin pockets of air from front to rear underneath.

The prototype, described in Applied Physics Letters, moves at speeds of about a centimetre per second.

Improvements to the design could raise that to as much as a metre per second.

[ ...]

The advantage of this kind of propulsion, he argues, is that unlike jets, propellers and hovercraft, there are no moving components like cogs and gears that rub against each other.

"The ideal use would be some kind of dusty, grimy environment where moving parts would get gummed up and stop," he explained.

That said, he laughingly admits that with the existing materials, a flying carpet powerful enough to carry a person would need a wingspan of 50 metres - not the best vehicle to take on the streets just yet.

On the other hand, preliminary calculations suggest that there is enough atmosphere on the planet Mars to send floating rovers scudding over its dusty surface.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15106231
Martian magic carpet rovers. Now that's a cool concept.

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