Scientists Build Smallest Ever Flying Structure With Wings

Oct, 2021 - By SMI

Scientists Build Smallest Ever Flying Structure With Wings

The tiniest flying microchip or microflier spins like helicopter and monitors air pollution, airborne disease and environmental contaminations.

Inspired by scattering of seeds by wind, a team of researchers at Northwestern University built helicopter shaped smallest ever microchips that can fly. These tiny chips could be the smallest flying structures built by humans. Having the size of a sand grain, these dispersed microfliers do not contain any engine or motor and they could observe air pollution, environmental contaminations as well as airborne diseases. These microstructures fly through wind just like dispersed seeds of a tree, spinning like helicopter towards the ground.

The team observed maple trees and other various wind-dispersed seeds to build microflier and improve its aerodynamics so that it could fall at slow speed in a controllable way. Due to these aerodynamics the flight of these microfliers gets stabilized and it can be dispersed slowly over a wide space which enhances its interaction period with air. Because of the slow dispersing, these microfliers can monitor air pollutions and air borne diseases. The tiny size of these microstructures gives many advantages such as, packing of the microfliers with ultra-miniaturized devices like power sources, sensors, and wireless interaction antennas.

According to the researchers, after spreading the microflyers in air through planes or tallest buildings they break down in the environment after completing their job, credited to the material they’re created from that are degradable polymers, compostable conductors and dissolvable programmed circuit chip.  Recovering microfliers after competing their work would be difficult as they are very small in size, hence the use of degradable materials. The technology would be of great use to researchers because of all the positive characteristics of the microfliers.

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