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One of the best parts in Disney's Aladdin is watching him and Princess Jasmine flying around on Aladdin's magical carpet. Now, a Princeton student has invented a prototype that could some day, turn into a real-life flying carpet.
However, before you start imagining 'flying' to school on one of these, Noah Jaffries creation is technically not a carpet - Yet! His floating prototype is a small 4-inch sheet of transparent plastic embedded with threads that can conduct electricity. As the energy flows through the 'carpet', it forms tiny air pockets underneath, which lift it up horizontally and also help propel it forward.
But, in order to 'fly' the air pockets under the transparent plastic do have to be trapped between the sheet and the ground, which means that the sheet has to be pretty close to the ground. Also, at a speed of one centimeter per second, the forward propulsion is not only slow, but pretty limited, because the current prototype relies on heavy batteries for its energy.
While Noah is now working on a prototype that will lift off using solar power, he does not think it will be able to garner enough energy to carry anything, let alone a human. For that, he will need to make a carpet that is at least 50 meters across and then make it fly with weight on top - A pretty daunting challenge!
Having said that, this is a great beginning and hopefully someday in the near future, we will all be flying around and seeing a 'whole new world' - Aladdin and Jasmine style!
Resources: ibtimes.com, mnn.com, endgadget.com