Sunday, October 01, 2006

A jet engine on your lap.

Alan Epstein (...), a professor in the aeronautics and astronautics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (...) his thoughts naturally began to wander.

"I'd been thinking about how to build small jet engines, and it was the realization that there's a threshold, that if you could make them really small, then the price can come way down."

How small? Well, thanks to silicon chips, the burgeoning field of microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, and about $30 million (U.S.) in funding from the American military, that would be about the size of a quarter.

And, in just a few years, this miniature turbine could be powering all manner of electronic devices, from laptops to radios.

It sounds a little creepy to have a tiny engine, with a very hot exhaust on your lap... but maybe the technology will prove itself, and the article says run times from 15 to 30 hours, not bad.

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