In an article in the latest Air & Space, shapeshifting planes could actually be made a reality. Not shapeshifting in the sense of Transformers, but morphing to alter wingspan, wing area and other features. A lot of this approach on morphing planes is inspired from flowers and batteries.

Chiang and colleague Steven Hall took advantage of the shape-changing nature of batteries by building the same materials into a model of a Blackhawk helicopter blade. They found a small dose of energy could reshape the blade, altering the angle of its trailing edge to give it more lift.

A team of MIT smarties are working on and developing this project. They are currently awaiting more funding from DARPA, but it seems like they have progressed well, especially with the battery-material helicopter blades. Lockheed folding wing in a wind tunnel pictured.

Shape Shifters [Via BoingBoing]