Able to fly without any moving parts, the ionocraft is also the smallest flying drone yet.
Although the concept of electrohydrodynamic thrust has been understood for a few hundred years, the technology has not been applied in larger EHD crafts due to the size of the pieces involved. To better utilize the technology, a team from the University of California, Berkeley created the ionocraft, which is powered by ion thrusters. Measuring only 2 cm x 2 cm and weighing just 30 mg, the tiny craft has no moving parts and flies completely silently. According to the team, working on a smaller scale is an excellent example of the technology, offering an improved thrust-to-weight ratio and lower voltage requirements.
The development team’s next step will be to enable controlled flight via an external controller and onboard sensing, with all the necessary components currently being developed and produced.