Volerian packs its flapping-wing VTOL tech into a room fan
Back in 2018, we heard how UK startup Volerian was planning to build a VTOL aircraft with a unique flapping-wing propulsion system. Although we've yet to see a functioning model of that vehicle, the company has now incorporated the technology into what it claims is a better room fan.
The aircraft version of the system consists of a series of long, skinny louvre-like wings, which are housed inside precisely shaped ducts. Driven by cams on a rotating shaft, those wings flap back and forth between the walls of those ducts, not unlike the tails of fish. The resulting thrust is directed by a series of secondary fixed wings, located farther down each duct.
Instead of trying for an energy-hungry VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft right off the bat, Volerian is now aiming at initially incorporating the setup into a wing-in-ground-effect vehicle. Flying above the surface of the water on a cushion of air, the craft is intended to be "a high-speed alternative to conventional sea-going ferries."
In order to fund production of the vehicle, the company has brought its Volerian Room Fan to crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
The device works on the same basic principle as the aircraft system, with camshaft-driven flapping wings in the back, and non-flapping airflow-channeling wings in front. In the case of the fan, though, the angle of those front wings can be manually adjusted to direct the airflow to the left or right. Additionally, the entire fan can be tilted up and down on its base if needed.
According to Volerian, its fan is far more energy-efficient than most conventional spinning-blade fans – plans call for the production version to use no more electricity than a regular fan, yet deliver about twice the airflow. It's also said to be quieter than other fans, plus people or pets won't be injured if they happen to touch its flapping wings.
Should you be interested, a pledge of £240 (about US$327) is required for one Volerian Room Fan – assuming they reach production, that is. The planned retail price is £320 ($436).
You can see and hear one of the prototypes in action, in the video below.