Take Aladdin’s flying carpet and mash it up with Marty McFly’s hoverboard, and you’ve got more than just a recipe for a fantastical flight of fancy — you’ve got real-world hover technology.
A Princeton grad student named Noah Jafferis figured out how to do it: A sheet of plastic with itty bitty conducting threads gets a current sent through it, forming a pocket of air beneath it and propelling the whole thing forward.
Well, OK — the plastic sheet is only 4 inches, it only moves a centimeter per second, and it needs to stay close to the ground for it to work, so this rig won’t exactly get us to Hawaii. But it’s a pretty exciting step forward, and who knows where this could go in the future? Forget carpets and hoverboards — someday, could we be jetting around on landspeeders like Luke Skywalker? Why not? A solar-powered version is being mulled over, which would be really inspired. Not only does it eliminate the need for a big bulky battery, but it would be perfect for those those hot mid-day rides on Tattooine.
Back here on Earth, though, it’s still a work in progress, as seen in the clip below.
For much more on this research, check out BBC’s coverage in the source link.