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Winged microchip is smallest-ever human-made flying structure

Credit:  A 3D microflier sits next to a common ant to show scale;  Northwestern University

'Microfliers' could monitor air pollution, airborne disease and environmental contamination

Engineers have added a new capability to electronic microchips: flight.

About the size of a grain of sand, the new flying microchip, or "microflier," does not have a motor or engine. Instead, it catches flight on the wind -- much like a maple tree's propeller seed -- and spins like a helicopter through the air toward the ground.

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