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
Eid Mubarak to all Irhal visitors
Experience the peaks near Lausanne Switzerland
Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi launches summer camp for children
Latest Travel News
Emirates voted ‘Best Business Airline’ a...
Tourism to contribute SR118 billion to S...
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi to celebrate M...
Featured Sights To See
Casa dos Bicos (House of Points)

Casa dos Bicos (House of Points)

Lisbon, Portugal

It’s not called House of Points for nothing; some 1125 pyramid shaped stones punctuate the sky. The former 16th century home of the viceroy to India, it now houses a private organisation but if the lobby is open pop in to see remnants of the old Moorish city wall. Tel: +218 810 900 Address: Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 10   ...

Roman Agora

Roman Agora

Athens, Greece

For 500 years from 100 BC to 400 AD this was the commercial heart of Athens. The market place buzzed with the sale of salt, oil and wheat along with a number of other merchants selling their products. Its most outstanding feature is the Gate of Athena, Archegetis,  funded by Julius Caesar and Augustus as the inscription says. The Tower of the Winds located here is well preserved. This tower f...

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Burj Kalifa is the tallest manmade structure on Earth, and is a must see for anyone visiting Dubai.  Quite literally – it’s hard to miss.  The $1.5 billion tower, part of the larger $20 billion Downtown Dubai Project, was completed in December 2009 after six years of construction.  It stands an astounding 828m tall, more than 200m taller than its closest rival, with 163 habitabl...

Hopi Hari

Hopi Hari

Sao Paulo, Brazil

One of the largest and modern amusement parks, the Hope Hari is actually divided into five separate parks and is located about one hundred kilometers from Sao Paulo. You can either drive there, (which takes about an hour), or you can take a bus to the park. Their website is mainly in Portuguese but your hotel staff will be able to guide you. Web Site : http://www.hopihari.com.br/  ...