Ornithopters In Fact And Fiction

An ornithopter (a flapping wing aircraft) under development at the University of Toronto's Institute for Aerospace Studies may yet make Leonardo da Vinci's dream a reality. The renaissance genius designed an aircraft that would achieve both lift and thrust with its flapping wings over 500 years ago. Many have tried to make it work; none have succeeded.


(From Toronto Ornithopter)

Professor James DeLaurier leads a group of scientists and engineers in creating a full-scale aircraft (not merely a model) that is a true engine-powered piloted ornithopter. The ornithopter will have its first flight in a few weeks at the Downsview airport in Toronto.

An Italian group is hoping to create a second craft and fly it at the 2006 Olympic games in February of 2006 in honor of Da Vinci.

Science fiction fans have long been familiar with the ornithopter concept; it plays an exciting role in Frank Herbert's Dune books - see dune ornithopter for a complete article. Herbert's concept is still a little in advance of reality:

He broke off as the Duke kicked on the jet brakes. The ship bucked as its tail pods whispered to silence. Stub wings elongated, cupped the air. The craft became a full 'thopter as the Duke banked it, holding the wings to a gentle beat, pointing with his left hand off to the east beyond the factory crawler.

Fans may also be familiar with the abbreviated term 'thopter from the novel.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/2/2004)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

Lit Motors Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'- Bruce Sterling, 1998.

Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'-= Robert Heinlein, 1941.

Tesla 90 Percent Autonomous Car By 2015 - Elon Musk
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941

Google Lobbies For Autonomous Motorcycles
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems.'- Bruce Sterling, 1988.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'

A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'

What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'

LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'

Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.

Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'

US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.

Fast Lightweight Autonomy Indoor Drones For DARPA
'the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom... and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'

Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'

FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator And Psychohistory
'The reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli...'

Stellar Navigation Based On Network Analysis
'We are a traveling people. We need a travel station here.'

New 'Smart-Skin' Senses Pressure, Humidity, Heat
'You can even sense with your fingertips...'

Mimo Baby Monitor
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.