When we think of jetpacks, we think of George Jetson flying over a futuristic city, but this is soon to become a reality. This new jetpack prototype might have soldiers flying while still on the ground. The project, otherwise known as 4MM (4 Minute Mile), has been backed by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA. It was dreamed up by Arizona State University faculty mentor Jason Kerestes. He is the mastermind who built the prototype for the jetpack and is now testing and refining his design to be as effective as possible.
The goal behind 4MM is to make every soldier be able to run a four minute mile. This student project will enhance speed and agility to increase efficiency in the field. It could also work for the pizza delivery guy. The project hopes to accomplish increased speed and agility of the wearer of the jetpack. Kerestes explained: “We reduced the amount of force so we’re not able to fly with our jetpack but we have instantaneous thrust and can trigger it to allow for faster movement”. Despite carry the 11pounds heavy metal pack, a volunteer was able to shed 18 seconds from their personal best.
In a combat scenario the ability to run faster could be the difference between life and death. This device might just be able to help soldiers succeed in their missions and potentially save human lives. This project is the military’s latest effort to create exoskeletons for US soldiers to give them super human strength, speed and other advantages on the battlefield.
Initially when Kerestes and his mentor Professor Thomas Sugar were asked by DARPA to design a way to allow soldiers to run faster without using any more effort, they experimented with a system where a person was pulled along, but as that was not going as planned, they settled on a jetpack for propulsion. The jetpack weighs 11 pounds and would add a bit of weight to a soldier’s load. Even though the team has not met its goal of the four minute mile, the results are improving. Hopefully the US military will benefit from these turbo boosters for humans on the battlefield.