I ran into a chain of links that ended at this video of a Japanese Flying Sphere.
It’s just so darned cute. And it works. And it’s efficient in flight. And you can make one out of off the shelf parts for about $1400 or so. And I want one. Especially a really big one to ride in ;-) I do have to take exception with their claim to being the first spherical flying machine, though. Seems to me some Europeans back in the 1700s or 1800s had some nice spherical balloons to fly in…
I found this video at this link:
That I ended up at after a click or two from this comment:
so h/t via indirection to R. de Haan. That link he posted to a “pulse jet” idea at gizmodo is also interesting.
At any rate, the flying sphere is just a cool little toy…
It also has a use that I’ve pondered, but not figured out how to make the propulsion part work well. This solves that niggling little issue. Imagine a laser rangefinder that encodes 3 axis coordinates, then sends them to a little ‘flying bomb’ that any soldier can launch. So you are a patrol that gets ‘pinned down’ from someone in a foxhole 1/2 mile away with a bit of minor artillery. Just send your ‘flying autonomous bomb’ over to take it out. “If you can see it, or someone ELSE can see it and send coordinates, you can kill it”. Kinda changes things… I’d been pondering ‘smart mortars’, but this would be more fun. (Though the low speed might be an issue. Maybe need to put a bigger, spherical, motor in it ;-)
On a less practical note, imagine a thousand of these things going off to drop water balloons on forest fires… I could easily see a computer controlled ‘swarm’ approach with these things making a ‘sky hose’ from any nearby lake or pond to a fire zone. Putting out small forest fires, one gallon at a time. 1 Gallon payload. 10000 of them. 1/10 th hour trip time. 1000 gallons / hour. 24,000 gallons in a day. So, long before you get the forest fighting crew in place, or the big Water Bombers warmed up, you could send the swarm off to hit the thing while it was still small. If you lose a few in the fire, who cares. No pilots at risk.
Yeah, completely fantasy. But it would look cool ;-)