It wasn't that long ago that we showed you a Canadian record-breaker that hovered in mid-air with a Marty McFly, Back to the Future-style hover-board. Already, scientists are coming up with even cooler hovering crafts that can be used in different ways.
The latest one to hit headlines is the Flike, which is ultimately a flying bike based out of Hungary, although it has three sets of propellers, so some might even call it a flying tricycle. The flying machine has been in development for almost a year and has come along way since the drawing boards.
It looks like something right out of Star Wars that you might see Imperial Scout Troopers riding atop of on the planet of Endor, but this is about as real life as it gets.
The Flike goes through the processes of starting up the propellers to the proper propulsion, stabilizing its hovering technique, and then compensating for wind resistance before becoming flyable for the rider. It also lands smoothly.
You can check out the video below demonstrating a successful minute-and-a-half of flight time:
The Flike in its current state is powered by Lithium Polymer batteries and can keep flight for anywhere from 15-20 minutes before having to land due to low power, and these number double to 30-40 minutes while in what the Flike team is calling ‘cruise mode.'
"Flike is equipped with Lithium Polymer batteries, allowing for around 15-20 minutes of hover flight, that extends towards 30-40 minutes in cruise. The lift is provided by six fixed-pitch, carbon composite rotors, directly driven by individual electric disc motors, resulting in the highest possible efficiency, and zero-emission by design."
What's more is that the Flike is made from lightweight material with the same geometry of a tripod, which gives it its stability. Controlling it is much like any helicopter and is done with electronics containing accelerometers and gyroscopes in them that can compensate with propeller power based on the readings they receive.
As it stands (or should I say, flies) right now, the Flike is still just a proof of concept, so it won't buzz around trees like the science-fiction racers from Star Wars would. Mobile drones, hover boards, and yes even the Flike, are still emerging technologies that have yet to reach their full potential. Battery life remains to be one of the biggest hurdles, but recent battery breakthroughs could prove very useful to the industry, so only time will tell how practical such equipment will be.
In the future, the designs will be improved, the power output of the motors will increase, and the overall control and stability of the flying dynamic will be smoothed out to give these machines a fun and graceful flying experience.