Six turbine engines let you fly ‘several hundred miles per hour.’
Everyone has dreamt of flying. But one inventor decided to make this dream a reality by developing a high-tech suit that allows you to zip through the air like Iron Man.
The inventor, Richard Browning, spent about ten months and $50,000 to create the suit, according to Engadget. The outfit features six turbine engines, two on each wrist and one on each calf.
The exhilarating video below, which Red Bull filmed, shows the suit in its current form. (Red Bull helped finance the project.)
Browning created a new company called Gravity to receive funding and (hopefully) sell the product. Early estimates peg the suit’s cost to consumers to be roughly $250,000.
According to CNET, the suit is meant to fly “several hundreds of miles per hour,” but Browning hasn’t ever actually reached these speeds. In fact, there isn’t a single video of the suit lifting him more than a few feet off the ground.
Browning underwent rigorous training to be able to operate the machine. In the video above, he says he rides a bike about 150 kilometers (92 miles) a week and is fond of going for 25–40 kilometer runs (16–25 miles) around 1:00 or 2:00 am on Saturday mornings.
The reason for this insane level of exercising is that each turbine generates 46 pounds of thrust, which means that each of his arms must stabilize 92 pounds pushing against them. That takes serious strength.
This is fine for Browning because he’s in incredible shape (he’s an ex-Royal Marine reservist), but the average person won’t be able to handle this kind of strain. Adding on some sort of exoskeleton would help with this problem, but it would also add a lot of weight and therefore demand more thrust.
I hate dampening innovation, but I feel like all of this excitement is only going to lead to disappointment and the loss of public interest in what could be a great technology. Remember the hype around Google Glass and the sad reality we got? I certainly do, and it made me skeptical of real advancements like Microsoft’s HoloLens.
The internet’s attention span is short, but science works slowly. It’s important for us to keep our feet on the ground even when we reach for the stars.