Winged Microchip Is Smallest-Ever Human-Made Flying Structure – The Size of a Grain of Sand

A 3D microflier sits next to a common ant to show scale. Credit: Northwestern University

The size of a grain of sand, dispersed microfliers could monitor air pollution, airborne disease, and environmental contamination.

Northwestern University engineers have added a new capability to electronic microchips: flight.

About the size of a grain of sand, the new flying microchip (or “microflier”) does not have a motor or engine. Instead, it catches flight on the wind — much like a maple tree’s propeller seed — and spins like a helicopter through the air toward the ground.

By studying maple trees and other types of wind-dispersed seeds, the engineers optimized the microflier’s aerodynamics to ensure that it — when dropped at a high elevation — falls at a slow velocity in a…

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News Source: scitechdaily.com

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