A team of Indian students have created the world’s first airplane that generates its own power by the vibration of its wings. Their idea has made it to the finals of a global competition conducted by Airbus.
The team which consists of students from Bangalore, Netherlansa, US and London, looks up at a future when the aircraft wings can be dressed in a composite skin that pumps energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings. They are travelling to Hamburg, Germany to make their case for the top prize to Airbus.
The winners of this competition, called “Fly Your Ideas” will be announced on May 27, 2015. The winners will get prize money worth 30,000 Euro.
The team used piezoelectric fibres which gather electrical charges from even the smallest movements during flight, storing the energy generated in battery panels integrated in the fuselage and using it to power auxiliary in-flight systems. This reduces the energy footprint of the aircraft during flight and could even replace the entire power source for ground operations.
Their team is among the five finalists, with other teams floating their innovative ideas too, in the competition. The ideas include creating sounds to keep birds away and help them fly to an artificial safe neighbouring environment and video game-style sensors to guide planes when they are taxiing, etc