September 23, 2021, 23:03 GMT
The researchers were inspired by the way trees like maples spread their seeds, using little more than a strong breeze.
A team from Northwestern University in Illinois has created the smallest man-made flight structure to date. It’s a little chip called “microflier”Its design is inspired by nature.
In their study, the researchers took inspiration from the way trees like maples disperse their seeds, using little more than a strong breeze, to develop a series of tiny flying microflakes, barely larger than a grain of sand.
Its creators say these chips can be equipped with the technology ‘pop up too’, including sensors, power supplies, wireless antennas, and even built-in memory for data storage.
“Our goal is to add flight capability to small scale electronic systems, with the idea that this allows us to distribute high-performance miniature electronic devices to detect the environment, in order to monitor pollution, monitor populations or implement disease surveillance,” to explain John A. Rogers, who led the development of the new machine.
These structures can fall into the cluster in a slow and controlled manner and interact with wind patterns for the longest possible period of time, thus maximizing the collection of relevant data.
The team is now working to reduce the environmental impact by developing recovery and disposal methods. For this, devices must be manufactured with materials that are naturally absorbed into the environment, through a chemical reaction or physical disintegration that is not harmful to nature.
study was published This Wednesday in Nature magazine.
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