Jet-heads rejoice: Starting in March, you can buy your own water-propelled jetpack, enabling you to soar over 32 feet into the air while traveling nearly 22 miles per hour. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-KczCp0OQ4 Invented by Raymond Li, the JetLev works by shooting water out of two nozzles. Because the jetpack's fuel and engine aren't directly strapped onto the user--they're housed separately on the water, and the flyer is connected via a long tube--the jetpack is not only safer than most, but also three times as powerful. As New Scientist reports:
"It's the same reaction force a firefighter experiences when he points a water jet at a fire," says Li.
But aside from the jetpack's abilities, the price tag also sets it apart from your average fire hose: it costs $99,500. If resorts and outdoor rental companies snatch up this gadget, though, zooming along the waterfront via jet pack may soon be a common sight. Li hopes that it will have more practical applications, too, like search and rescue and--yes--firefighting. The task of creating a workable hydro-jetpack wasn't easy. From New Scientist:
It's the result of a decade of hard work and following a dream that most engineers thought was impossible. "No one had done anything like it before," says Li. "Almost everyone thought I was crazy. It was hard to get quotations for prototype fabrication, raising capital, finding development partners and suitable venues to do the testing."
Although Raymond Li appears to be the first inventor to market a water-powered jetpack to the public, others have tried their hand at similar projects. First taking flight in 1997 and developed by New Zealander Glenn Martin, the Martin Jetpack is similarly priced but is air-powered by spinning rotors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TBndcBjQFM Unlike the JetLev, the Martin Jetpack straps all the components onto the user, including the engine, which explains why it weighs over 250 pounds. And although the sound of this jetpack may be deafening to the ears, that's a small price to pay for the ability fly. As the New York Times reports:
“There is nothing that even comes close to the dream that the jetpack allows you to achieve,” said Robert J. Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.
Still, some jetpackers not only get to fly, but they also look stylish doing it. This next jetpack looks nothing like the bulky Martin device: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv89Ay0PxjM&feature=related And who wouldn't want to show off in front of a crowd of roaring football fans? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3kijZDwp8&NR=1 But don't expect to see football players strapped to jetpacks anytime soon. The world of jetpacking is in its infancy, but for any aspiring jetpack users, I'd recommend watching this next video of the best and worst of jetpack-dom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XvOhW3mZwI Related Links: 80beats: Swiss “Rocketman” Blasts Across the English Channel 80beats: Daredevil Plans to Jump to Earth From 23 Miles Up—for Science! 80beats: The Little Flying Car That Could… Get FAA Approval DISCOVER: Dude, Where's My Jetpack? DISCOVER: It's 2008. Here's Your Jetpack.