Because there isn't a pauper-prince alive who hasn't dreamed of taking a princess out for a magic carpet ride with the hope of later rocking her casbah, scientists at Princeton University (my alma mater! Jk jk, I went to Virginia Tech) have successfully developed a thin plastic sheet that can "swim" through the air the way skates and rays swim through the ocean. Me? Not without a shark cage and water wings on!
The 10cm (4in) sheet of smart transparency is driven by "ripple power"; waves of electrical current driving thin pockets of air from front to rear underneath.
The prototype, described in Applied Physics Letters, moves at speeds of about a centimetre per second.
Improvements to the design could raise that to as much as a metre per second.
With the current status of the project, it would take a carpet at least 50-meters wide to support a human. That's...a little big. And only strong enough for one person. I'm gonna need to support two people. Plus a tiger.
Hit the jump for a crappy video of Princeton's flying carpet, then one of the fully functional model from Aladdin.
Thanks to Megoo and Rev Dr Dom, who would settle for magic carpets that don't leave stains when their cats miss the litter box.