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Drones

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Mashable

Mashable reporter Jordan Aaron spotlights how MIT researchers have developed insect-sized drones that can flap their wings over 500 times per second, allowing them to withstand collisions. The drones are “powered by a small actuator, which gives them the ability to flap so fast.”

National Public Radio (NPR)

Prof. Kevin Chen speaks with NPR about his work developing a new microdrone inspired by how an insect flaps its wings. “Because our soft power robot is very robust, of course, we can do interesting maneuvers, such as doing a somersault, we can survive collisions, et cetera,” he explains.

WHDH 7

Speaking with WHDH, Prof. Kevin Cheng explains how he was inspired by the agility of insects to create tiny new drones that are acrobatic and resilient. “Think about a scenario, for example, a building collapse with people trapped inside, and what we’re thinking of is sending a swarm of drones into this collapsed building to search for survivors,” says Chen. “That’s something very difficult for traditional drones.”

Boston.com

Writing for Boston.com, Mark Gartsbeyn highlights how MIT researchers have “developed tiny drones that can fly, dodge, and weave like actual insects.”

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have developed tiny, agile drones with insect-like wings, reports John Biggs for Gizmodo. “The goal is to use these tiny, soft drones to explore close spaces where rigid drones will break on contact with hard surfaces,” writes Biggs.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights how MIT researchers have designed insect-sized drones that can withstand collisions. Heater notes that potential applications for the new drones include everything from “simple inspections currently being handled by larger models to pollination and search and rescue.”

Mashable

CSAIL researchers have developed a new system aimed at allowing non-experts to design drones of different sizes and shapes that can alternate between hovering and gliding. The drones combine “the stability and flexibility of a multi-copter, with the speed and fuel efficiency of an airplane.”

Forbes

Prof. Steven Barrett speaks with Forbes reporter Jeremy Bogaisky about the new plane he developed that is propelled by an ion drive, noting that he is working to embed a prolusion system within the skin of the aircraft. “There’s no reason to think long-term that airplane designs with electroaerodynamic propulsion need look at all like an airplane today,” explains Barrett.

Economist

The Economist highlights how MIT researchers have developed the first plane that is powered by an ion drive and has no moving parts. “The use of an ion drive means the MIT craft contains no moving propulsion parts in the form of propellers or jet engines,” The Economist explains. “It can fly silently and without direct emissions from burning fossil fuels.”

CNN

CNN reporter Helen Regan highlights a new solid-state plane developed by MIT researchers that has no moving parts and does not require fossil fuels. “The flight is a milestone in ‘ionic wind’ technology,” explains Regan, “and could pave the way for quieter and environmentally cleaner aircraft in the future.”

Nature

A Nature editorial highlights the historic breakthrough achieved by MIT researchers who developed the first plane that is propelled by ionic wind and has no moving parts. Nature writes that the plane is a “remarkable machine,” adding that “anyone who watches the machine fly can surely see glimpses of a future with cleaner and quieter aircraft.”

Reuters

Reuters reporter Will Dunham writes that a new plane without moving parts developed by MIT researchers is a “radical new approach toward flying.” The plane could one day lead to “ultra-efficient and nearly silent airplanes that have no moving control surfaces like rudders or elevators, no moving propulsion system like propellers or turbines, and no direct combustion emissions like you get with burning jet fuel,” explains Prof. Steven Barrett.

The Washington Post

MIT researchers have built a new electric plane that has no moving parts and is propelled by “ionic wind,” reports Joel Achenbach for The Washington Post. Franck Plouraboué of Toulouse University, explains that the new plane creates “an opening for future progress, in a field which is now going to burst.”

The Conversation

In an article for The Conversation, Prof. Steven Barrett details how he was inspired by science fiction movies to create an airplane that makes no noise, has no moving parts and does not require fossil fuels to operate. Barrett explains that he hopes the new technology “could be used in larger aircraft to reduce noise and even allow an aircraft’s exterior skin to help produce thrust.”

Associated Press

Inspired by “Star Trek,” Prof. Steven Barrett has developed a new silent airplane that does not require fossil fuels to operate and is powered by ionic wind thrusters, reports Malcom Ritter for the AP. Ritter explains that the technology that powers the plane could eventually be used “in airplane-like drones that perform tasks like environmental monitoring and surveillance.”