Winged Microchip: US Scientists Build Smallest Man-Made Flight Structure Ever, Science News

Based on the movie “Ant-Man”, the engineers at Northwestern University have created the smallest flight structure ever made by man in the form of a winged microchip.

Northwestern University announced the “micro-flyer,” which is roughly the size of a grain of sand and much smaller than an ordinary ant.

It has neither an engine nor a motor, but instead flies with the wind and a propeller, much like a helicopter.


The micro flyer structures are designed to accommodate miniature technology such as sensors, power supplies, wireless communication antennas, and storage data.

A flying microchip the size of a grain of sand that monitors pollution levels and the spread of airborne diseases while being carried by the wind.

The biological world provided inspiration for the design.

The movement of the microflane is comparable to that of a powered maple leaf falling from a height.

Engineers studied the aerodynamics of various plant seeds.

The Tristellateia plant served them as the most direct source of inspiration.

It is a flowering vine with blade-shaped seeds in the shape of stars.

The blade-like construction helps trap the wind and let the seeds fall in a slow, rotating rotation.

Engineers created 2D prototypes of the structures and then converted them to 3D models.

Since all current semiconductor devices are fabricated in planar layouts, the method is advantageous.

This shift from 2D to 3D allows them to design flat chips and then convert them into 3D shapes using industry standard materials and manufacturing processes.

(With contributions from agencies)

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