Microchip: Smallest Man-Made Flying Structure | 25 Sep 2021

Why in News

Recently, Northwestern University (US) has created an Electronic Microchip or Microflier with the capability of flight. It is the smallest-ever human-made flying structure.

Key Points

  • About:
    • It is about the size of a grain of sand and does not have a motor or engine.
    • It catches flight on the wind — much like a maple tree’s propeller seed — and spins like a helicopter through the air toward the ground.
  • Idea Behind the Design:
    • The engineers optimised their design by studying maple trees and other types of wind-dispersed seeds and fashioned the micro flier such that when dropped from a height it would fall at a slow velocity in a controlled manner.
      • This behaviour stabilizes its flight, ensures dispersal over a broad area and increases the amount of time it interacts with the air.
    • They designed many different types of micro fliers, including one with three wings, resembling the wings on a tristellateia seed.
  • Significance:
    • It can be packed with ultra-miniaturised technology, including sensors, power sources, antennas for wireless communication and embedded memory to store data.
      • Miniaturization is the trend to manufacture ever smaller mechanical, optical and electronic products and devices.
    • It is ideal for monitoring Air Pollution and Airborne Disease.

Source: HT