Lightweight Low-Power Drone Can Fly For Almost Half an Hour
Although humans can fly with the help of copious engineering, Mother Nature has already come up with much simpler ways to soar, like the way a maple tree’s spinning seeds scatter by floating on the wind like unpowered helicopters. It’s a beautifully efficient design, and one that inspired this similarly lightweight drone that can even record video—despite constantly spinning.
We’ve seen other researchers look towards the mighty maple tree for inspiration before, including engineers from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who created sensor-laden microchips with tiny wings that allow them to passively float on a breeze and spin as they descend, making them easier to distribute across large areas without requiring each microflier to have its own power source.
Researchers from City University of Hong Kong also took inspiration from the unique way a maple tree sows its seeds, but to help design a battery-powered drone that would instead sip power to help boost flight…