Human wings: The green answer to air travel
Forget subways, trains, and bikes — those are old hat compared to what we’re about to tell you. Meet the new green form of transportation: strapping on human bird wings and flying through the air with the greatest of ease.
In what is possibly the coolest invention since Icarus, Dutch inventor Jarno Smeets crafted human wings that actually work. (WE HOPE. It’s possible this video is an elaborate and awesome fake, but do you really want to live in that world?) Smeets successfully flapped his wings and flew for about 60 seconds, becoming the first man in history to fly like an eagle … fly right into the future. Or in this case, fly like an albatross, which is the bird that Smeets says inspired his design.
Smeets MacGyvered his wings by stitching together kite fabric and windsurfer masts. To actually control his flight and generate enough power for lift-off, Smeets used two Wii controllers, smartphone accelerometers, and Turnigy motors. The wings, which boast a pretty significant span, weighed only 37 ounces.
While flapping his arms generated about 5 percent of the necessary power to achieve lift, the other 95 percent came from motors that provided 2,000 Watts of continuous power. The entire system is a wireless (haptic) concept, meaning that with the addition of video game controllers and smartphone technology, he was able to use his arms to control the contraption and navigate a flight that lasted about 60 seconds.
Sure, it might be sort of ridiculous to see the skies loaded with folks flapping to work. But think how cool you’ll sound when you say, “No thanks guys, I don’t need a ride. I brought my HUMAN BIRD WINGS!”
- At last! Man flaps his arms, flies like a bird , SmartPlanet
Get Grist in your inbox