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They manage to build the smallest flying microchip in the world

Grecia De Flores
4 min read

In order to be able to design the so-called microfliers, it has recently been created through research on aerodynamic studies, that there are several seeds of plants, which trap the wind in order to fall slowly.

Based on this, they have created a microchip with wings, which has the size of a grain of sand and has become the smallest device in the world, manufactured by humans and also has the ability to fly.

This new microflier, as it has been called by its inventors who are from Northwestern University, assure that it does not have any type of motorcycle which drives it.

Instead, it is able to move with the wind to such an extent that it looks like the seed of a maple tree.

One of the wonders of this device is the fact that it rotates as if it were a helicopter through the air, making its landing smooth and quite light.

One of the aces of this study was the analysis on the maples and also other types of seeds which are dispersed by the wind.

By carrying out different tests, the engineers came to optimize the aerodynamics of the microflier, in order to guarantee the fall of the element at a slow and controlled speed.

This type of behavior helps stabilize your flight, thus ensuring dispersion within a wide area, which increases the amount of time you interact in the air.

All these elements are ideal to be able to monitor the pollution that exists in the air, as well as the diseases that are transmitted by it.

They manage to build the smallest flying microchip in the world

The advances and benefits that we can obtain with this discovery

Just like flying structures, they have helped us with various meteorological data, microfliers can also be packaged as part of ultra miniaturized technology, which also includes some sensors, power sources or antennas ideal for wireless communication.

Each one of them comes integrated with a memory so that it can be stored.

The objective was to add the winged flight to all the electronic systems that existed on a small scale, so that they are capable of distributing some electronic devices in a miniature way; which in addition, are highly functional to be able to detect contamination levels in the environment, population surveillance or even the monitoring of some type of diseases.

What was the engine of this technology?

This was achieved thanks to the hundreds of inspiring ideas, which can be seen every day, within the biological world.

Through millions of years and thanks to nature, it has been able to design different types of seeds, which have unique patterns and elements, as well as very sophisticated aerodynamics.

Borrowing some of these concepts on natural design, we have adapted and studied, enough to apply it to various electronic circuit platforms, which also served as a starting point throughout this world.

In general, most people have seen the propeller seed, like a maple leaf which spins in the air and thus has the possibility of landing softly on the sidewalk.

This is just one of many examples of how nature develops sophisticated methods in order to increase the survival of some plants.

This system ensures that the seeds are dispersed correctly, in addition to covering a greater range of area, which helps the propagation of sedentary plants and trees.

In order to design the microfliers, the team was able to study the aerodynamics of various seeds, taking inspiration in a much more direct way from the tristellateia plant, which is a flowering vine, whose star-shaped seeds have a unique design for their propagation..

These Tristellateia seeds have sharp wings, which catch the wind so that they can fall with a slow, twisting turn, which helps them to place at longer distances and with a greater chance of success.

Development team also helped in the creation and construction of different types of microfliers, in addition to one with three wings, which is optimized to give some shapes and other angles, which are similar to the wings of the tristellateia seed.