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
Constance Halaveli Maldives offers the luxury of space in seclusion
Multiple Langham Hotels named in 2020 Readers' Choice Award
Swiss Belhotel to open 4 new hotels in the GCC
Latest Travel News
Multiple Langham Hotels named in 2020 Re...
Swiss Belhotel to open 4 new hotels in t...
Abu Dhabi and Wizz Air announce establis...
Featured Sights To See
Norton Simon Museum

Norton Simon Museum

Los Angeles, United States

This museum showcases an extensive collection of European art and features the works of Rembrandt, Picasso, the Impressionists and Rodin. Visitors will also find a collection of Degas' sculptures as well as sculptures from India and South-East Asia. While you're there, don't forget to take a stroll through the garden, which features fountains, ponds, statutes and various sculptures.   ...

Deoksu-gung Palace

Deoksu-gung Palace

Seoul, South Korea

It is located in downtown Seoul cross the street from City Hall. This palace was built in the mid-fifteenth century and the architecture of the insides of the buildings show heavy traces of Western designs. This palace is famous for its elegant stone wall road. The buildings itself are of natural sugi, painted wood and stucco. The east wing was the king's while the queen's quarters were located in...

Cismigui Gardens

Cismigui Gardens

Bucharest, Romania

The17 hectares of greenery of the Cismigui Gardens have great significance for Bucharest. It is the largest park in the city center that has various entrances, depending on where you are located. The gardens are crowded with people all day during summers as people use it as a picnic spot, play ground for children and a leisure spot beside the artificial lake. A perfect spot for a relaxing outside ...

Jinmao Tower

Jinmao Tower

Shanghai, China

This pagoda is the 5th tallest building in the world. On the 88th floor is an observation deck which provides the most brilliant views of the city of Shanghai. This is one of the most renowned architectural sites known for its fusion of eastern and western architectural styles.   Timings: Daily 8:30am - 9pm Admission: Y 50 Address: 88 Shiji Dadao Tel: 021-5047-0088 ...