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 ")

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.' - Robert Heinlein, 1941.

Have I Seen The Tesla Roadster Story Before?
'Only it wasn't a vessel. It was an automobile...' - Theodore Sturgeon, 1941.

Self-Driving Car Ticketed
This just missed making my day.

Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.' - Christopher Stasheff, 1969.

 

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

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

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.