Berkeley's Flying Drone - No Moving Parts
|Source: UCal Berkeley|
No Moving Parts, Just Electricity And Ions
Ionocraft is being called the world's smallest flying drone. It's powered by ion thrusters and is breakthrough drone innovation from University of California Berkeley.
Small and Silent
The flying drone measures 2 cm x 2 cm, weighs just 30 mg and is the size of a penny. When it flies it is completely silent. The concept behind this is electrohydrodynamic thrust or EHD. The concept has been around for many years but never applied to larger EHD craft because of the size of the components involved. The Berkeley team says working as they did on a smaller scale is providing an excellent example of the technology. It's resulted in improved thrust to weight ratio and lower voltage requirements.
Ion Thruster Power
The team uses a high strength electric field which generates a plasma of ions. In essence, when the ions hit air molecules that generates the thrust. Berkeley engineers are now working on controlled flight with an external controller and onboard sensing.