Must Reads

VIDEO: A Tiny Mechanical 'Jellyfish' That Flies

New Scientist/YouTube

We've watched as a "pocket-sized drone dubbed the Nano Hummingbird" flitted around.

Now, here's another tiny robot flier, but this one mimics the movements of a jellyfish. New Scientist says it just may be "more stable in the air than insect-like machines."

The little machine was created by researchers at New York University. According to New Scientist, "the design should be especially useful for making centimeter-scale robots that drift through the air."

The Washington Post's Innovations blog writes that:

"Leif Ristroph wanted to build the 'simplest possible' flying machine. The applied mathematician at New York University glued together several tubes of carbon fiber to build this: a sphere with four wings attached to it that propels it as a jellyfish swims.

"The flyer is only about eight centimeters in diameter — small enough to fit in the palm of your hand — and its mass is only about two grams, the equivalent of two paper clips."

According to New Scientist, the prototype's jellyfish-like shape "allows it to fly upright with little effort, without requiring sensors or intelligence to adjust its wings." It's thought that little machines such as this might be useful someday for taking air measurements and other scientific endeavors. Check out the video.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: