MIT researchers have successfully flown a wind-powered aircraft that does not have any moving parts. This 16-foot wide, ion-powered machine stays in the air using charged 40,000V wires that strip negatively-charged electrons from air molecules, which are attracted to negative electrodes at the back of the aircraft, and then using the collisions to create the thrust needed to keep afloat. Read on for a video of it in-action and additional information.
“There’s a long, long way to go before you see this technology in the skies. The prototype was barely sophisticated enough to fly 197 feet across a gym, and required a large electrode area to produce enough thrust. A fully controllable, efficient aircraft might not happen for a while. The potential, however, is clear. You could see very quiet aircraft, such as drones that don’t emit annoying buzzes. There might also be hybrid airplanes that could improve their fuel efficiency,” reports Engadget.