Nano Ornithopter is smallest UAV

smallest-uav.jpg

Yesterday’s “Nano” was VIA’s freshly-renamed Isaiah chip; today’s is the Nano Air Vehicle, a tiny drone that flies by moving its wings instead of using propellers or jets. Graced by a half-mil from DARPA, creators AeroVironment have six months to convince the military it’s good for something.

Weighing less than 10 grams and only 7.5 centimeters long, the Nano will “push the limits of aerodynamic and power conversion efficiency.” The stated objectives are somewhat opaque…

The development of conformal, multifunctional structural hardware and strong, light, aerodynamic lifting surfaces/rotors for efficient flight at low Reynolds number (<15,000)

… But I can’t help but remember something from that other bastion of ornithopter fandom, Dune:

hunterseeker.jpg

Nano Air Vehicle [DARPA]
Nano Air Vehicle [Ubergizmo]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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6 Responses to Nano Ornithopter is smallest UAV

  1. Chaoss Control says:

    “Get…out…of…my…mind!”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if it’s anything like this under-$20 toy:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI0ZG9Q3y2k

  3. Rob Beschizza says:

    The pain!

  4. airshowfan says:

    Aerovironment is awesome. The first human-powered airplanes, the first solar-powered airplanes (one of which flew higher than the Blackbird), the first fuel-cell-powered airplanes… all largely paid for by massive sales of small military UAVs, sure (some of which can fly for ridiculously long times). But Paul McCready had to sell SOMEthing to fund his abilities to make his dreams come true of pushing the boundaries of energy efficiency and “doing more with less”. (He was also one of the designers of the GM EV1 electric car). Of course, now Paul has passed away and Northrop is buying out his shop, which is kind of a shame. Glad to hear they’re still doing cool innovative stuff, though. If my work at Boeing ever gets boring, they’ll be the first to get my resume.

  5. Mister Staal says:

    It’s a Hunter Seeker. It will kill you. Fear is the Mindkiller.

  6. certron says:

    As cool as this is, and I do think it is pretty cool, I still prefer the more awesomely-named “Phantom Sentinel” UAV, which takes the form of an off-center irregularly-shaped boomerang.

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/30/phantom-sentinel-the-new-invisible-boomerang-like-uav/

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=WSslxXutL14

    Still, I could see a flock of these Nano flying into a chemical cloud to detect if there’s anything toxic being released, or survey wind conditions, or possibly relay short-range wireless signals, or whatever they do best. If they hover well, it should be easy to build a ‘structure’ of them in the air. Airborne beacons, skywriting, temporary antenna columns, air acrobatics ‘flying rings’ only previously available in video games…

    Also, I was expecting it to have 4 wings, or maybe two stacked propellers. If they can make this design work, more power to them, but I somehow think there is a better way.

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