General Travel News

Flying carpets are real!

Remember that flying carpet Aladdin and Jasmine escaped from Jaffar on? You know, in that 1992 Disney movie with the blue genie voiced by Robin Williams. That flying carpet is now real!

A miniature magic carpet made of plastic has taken flight in a laboratory at Princeton University.

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 device's creator, graduate student Noah Jafferis, says he was inspired by a mathematical paper he read shortly after starting his PhD studies at Princeton.

He abandoned what would have been a fashionable project printing electronic circuits with nano-inks for one that seemed to have more in common with 1001 Nights than 21st-Century engineering.

Prof James Sturm, who leads Mr Jafferis' research group, conceded that at times the project seemed foolhardy.

"What was difficult was controlling the precise behaviour of the sheet as it deformed at high frequencies," he told the BBC.

"Without the ability to predict the exact way it would flex, we couldn't feed in the right electrical currents to get the propulsion to work properly."

What followed was a two year digression attaching sensors to every part of the material so as to fine-tune its performance through a series of complex feedbacks.

But once that was mastered, the waveform of the undulating matched that prescribed by the theory, and the wafting motions gave life to the tiny carpet.

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.

More General Travel News
Swiss Belhotel to open 4 new hotels in the GCC
Abu Dhabi and Wizz Air announce establishment of new low cost airline
Emirates touches down in Mexico City
Latest Travel News
Abu Dhabi and Wizz Air announce establis...
Emirates touches down in Mexico City...
Air Arabia named as Middle East and Afr...
Featured Sights To See
Zurich Zoo

Zurich Zoo

Zurich, Switzerland

The Zurich Zoo, or Zurich Zoologischer Garten, is one of the finest in Europe.  It opened in 1920 about 5km west of the city center.  Today more than 2,000 animals of more than 300 species call this zoo home.  It's located in the middle of a park, so there's a lot of open space.  All the zoo standards are here: lions, tigers, elephants, etc. The Masoala rain forest is an 1...

Musee Chagall

Musee Chagall

Nice, France

This museum displaying Chagall's works is one of the most popular museums in Nice. Marc Chagall was a Russian painter who died in 1985 in a town close to Nice. He is famous for his paintings which have their inspiration in Jewish legends.  His work is displayed on huge canvasses at the museum and this is a must-see on the list of things to do. Avenue Docteur-Menard Nice 06000 Franc...

Palais Lascaris

Palais Lascaris

Nice, France

This historical palace built in the 17th century is in the Baroque style. Here you can view some wonderfully ornate decoration pieces. The floor which is most elaborately decorated still holds the paneling and ornaments from the 18th century. Also built during the same century was a pharmacy which  still holds many of the original Delft items. 15 rue Droite Timings: Wednesday to ...

Teatro Nacional

Teatro Nacional

Caracas, Venezuela

Also known as the Municipal Theatre, this public amenity is a splendid work of art in itself. Since its first live performance in 1881, an opera that received national recognition, the theatre has successfully continued to lure music and art lovers to its rather commendable performances. The interior is ornamented in tones of opulent luxury, with velvets and fine silks and an added sprinkle of ...