The Jetpack That's Not A Jetpack But's Still Kinda Cool
Arizona State University researchers have built a prototype “JetPack” that won’t let anyone fly but aims to help soldiers run 4 minute miles even loaded with gear.
Let me get this out of the way first. This is NOT A JETPACK. Everyone’s calling it a jetpack (including researchers) but just strapping a jet to your back doesn’t make it a jetpack unless you can fly with it. Am I right or am I right?
Ok, I feel a little better.
What we have here is yet another interesting idea sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The goal is to give soldiers (and us eventually maybe) the ability to run 4 minute miles even with this 11.2 pound engine strapped to their backs plus their extra gear as well. For this reason it’s called 4MM for 4 minute mile. I’m sure there are some fit soldiers who have the capability to do this themselves but the aim is to permit all soldiers to do this and not just once but multiple times in a row if necessary. An assist such as this then not only increases speed but also decreases metabolic cost allowing better performance for all other tasks required of a soldier.
There haven’t been many details release yet about the device but we do know that an electric power source runs dual rotors with air-intakes on the side. We also know it looks pretty cool as well.
The prototype is currently being tested and refined but they have released some performance figures. For example, one test subject ran a mile in 5 minutes and 20 seconds with no aids. With the jetpack…I mean 4MM he was able to do it in 5 minutes and 2 seconds. Ok, this isn’t overly impressive but it is just a prototype and it seemed to allow for greater speed with less effort. Hopefully the performance boost wasn’t all placebo effect.
I can see integrating something like this into one of the many exosuits that are being developed. That would be an interesting combination.
I still have a problem with the name. Here’s some alternative ideas I’ve come up with:
The Super Run-Jet
I have a better idea. Just finally make a real JetPack for crying out loud.