A while ago I watched a documentary which at the end (don't let the name mislead you, I'm asking about a perfectly real phenomenon) shows an experiment which its inventor calls a "lifter"/ionocraft. The device, when a current is passed through it, hovers quite a distance above the ground.

He says that nobody at the time was sure exactly how it worked, though he did give examples of popular theories. But this was 2005, have there been any new developments in figuring out the science behind this device?

I am just fascinated by the device and want to better understand how it works and how it was constructed.


closed as off-topic by Jon Custer, Gert, user36790, John Rennie, Qmechanic Sep 21 '16 at 8:23

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "We deal with mainstream physics here. Questions about the general correctness of unpublished personal theories are off topic, although specific questions evaluating new theories in the context of established science are usually allowed. For more information, see Is non mainstream physics appropriate for this site?." – Jon Custer, Gert, Community, John Rennie, Qmechanic
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionocraft $\endgroup$ – Byte Commander Sep 20 '16 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ Voted to re-open. This is a physics question involving ion-wind and electrostatics. It's a mainstream topic about devices with plenty of working models as examples $\endgroup$ – user56903 Sep 22 '16 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ If the question is actually just about ionocraft, it would honestly much better to just touch off directly from Wikipedia, instead of the breathless, unquestioning (and quite dubious) perspective of the video you linked to. As Dirk Bruere points out, this does indeed seem to fall within the on-topic mainstream. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 22 '16 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ However, just because some random dude on the internet says there's controversy about the mechanism, it doesn't mean that the controversy actually exists within serious science, and Wikipedia gives a good account of one credible mechanism. Unless you can document a good reason not to trust it, my feeling is that the answer is simply "go see the explanation in Wikipedia", i.e. the question should remain closed because it displays insufficient research. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 22 '16 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ Related meta post. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Sep 22 '16 at 14:54