Can Shrinking Man Fly?

December 12, 2010 By arne hendriks 1

For some people the most exciting consequence of shrinking the human body is not that we’ll save resources, or the new abundance of space and the challenge of redesigning most of our things. What keeps them busy is if at 50 centimeters and 2 kilograms it may finally become possible to fly.

At the end of 19th century Otto Lilienthal , a German pioneer of flight, constructed a number of relatively succesful flying devices: designs that eventually led to the delta gliders we are now familiar with. Lilienthal ultimately wanted to design a flying machine that would allow its user to take off much like a bird can, a so called ornithopter. The biggest problem with this approach to manflight is that the muscles are not strong enough to lift our weight. If we are to shrink this negative relationship between bodyweight and muscle strength will change to our advantage. Perhaps we’ll actually be able to take off.

It makes you wonder what other dreams come in our grasp if we decide to shrink.