A miniature magic carpet made of plastic has taken flight in a laboratory at Princeton University.
Finally the carpet from the movie Aladdin has come to life. Geniuses from Princeton University have created a 10cm (4in) sheet of smart transparency is driven by “ripple power”; which is waves of electrical current driving thin pockets of air from front to rear underneath. This cause the carpet to rise and propel forward and side to side.
In the paper describing the design, Mr Jafferis and his co-authors are careful to keep the word “flying” in inverted commas, because the resulting machine has more in common with a hovercraft than an aeroplane.
“It has to keep close to the ground,” Mr Jafferis explained to the BBC’s Science in Action, “because the air is then trapped between the sheet and the ground. As the waves move along the sheet it basically pumps the air out the back.” That is the source of the thrust.
Nice work Princeton, now get cracking on creating a genie.