We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

This Balloon Flies by Turning Itself Inside Out

Festo develops a prismatic balloon that can push itself through the air by flipping inside-out.

Pretty much any man-made flying contraption has to use wings, propellers, or a gas in some combination to achieve flight. Get ready to add "flipping inside-out" to the list.

SmartInversion is a helium-filled flying object built by Festo that achieves thrust by turning itself inside-out: It's a six-sided ring of articulating prisms with a carbon-fiber frame. At its widest point, SmartInversion measures 15.5 feet (4.75meters) across, and the contraption weighs a mere 5 pounds (2.334 kg). SmartInversion's geometric jellyfish shape is based on the Kinematics of Inversion discovered by Paul Schatz.

The motion SmartInversion might look completely insane and trippy, but it makes complete sense from a mechanical standpoint. The object basically performs the equivalent of a breaststroke in the air. It begins its transformation by moving its arms forward to the center. When the object's arms sweep back, they scoop up and push the air behind it giving it thrust.

Driving the framework are servos that are commanded by ARM processor and powered by an 8.4V lithium polymer battery. Festo says that you can be remotely control SmartInversion via an iPhone app, and that it can fly for approximately 5 hours.

Festo's flying contraption is currently on display this week at the Hannover Messe technology trade show in Germany.

[Festo via Wired UK]

Like this? You might also enjoy...

Get more GeekTech: Twitter - Facebook - RSS | Tip us off | Follow Kevin Lee

IDG UK Sites

LG G4 launch live blog: What to expect from the LG G4 launch

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch release day: Twitter reacts

IDG UK Sites

Doctor Who scoops VFX gong at BAFTA TV Craft Awards

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch buying guide, price list & where to buy today: Which Apple Watch model, size, material,?......