This story went online so close to April 1st, most people thought it was a hoax. After a year of tinkering, a British man by the name of Richard Browning crafted the beginnings of a Daedalus flying suit.
History check: Daedalus was the Greek craftsman who made wax and feather flying suits for him and his son, Icarus. The boy died on their first flight because he flew too close to the sun, teaching the lesson that we should not tempt the gods or something.
There’s just one problem with Browning’s suit. It turns out that it takes some serious strength to operate such powerful forces on the human body.
The Daedalus suit may not yet stack up to Tony Stark’s famous (but totally fictional) suit, but it’s a good start and something you will wish you could fly.
Why wait? For the measly price of $250,000, you can have your own.
Like Stark, Browning came into this game with some talent. He had enough money to spend on pie-in-the-sky, hair-brained ideas.
It’s easy to imagine the pile of failed hair-brain ideas that never see the light of day because they die before they take off, started by well-intended folks who don’t make it happen. Not Browning’s design, but we’ll come back to that.
Browning wasn’t just playing around, either. He started a company to back the project, called Gravity. Cute, Dick, cute.
Physically, the man is no slouch either. Going into the project, Browning was already a triathlete, marathoner, and endurance canoeist.
What he discovered along the way, though, is that flying his suit would take more strength than he had on tap.
The first version of the suit was simple, wild and needed some time. He started slow, at first testing the compact jets, using them like a super-powered leaf blower.
His jets weren’t the micro versions from Iron Man’s suit, not even close, and the power source is liquid fuel like a plane, lest you thought he created the first arc reactor.
The fuel rests in custom fuel bladders, which he wears like a hip pack. We can assume that an accident could be deadly just by nature of accidents in general, but there’s also the possibility of the accident burning him beyond recognition.
Like I said, Browning started slowly.
As far as potential accidents go, the suit doesn’t yet fly around like some of the jetpack designs out there. Browning suit makes big hops or hovers.
Other devices are bulkier, with wings or platforms to stand on. They do one or the other, fly or hover, not both. Browning’s will do both, once he’s able to control it.
Oh yeah, and his helmet is WiFi and Bluetooth enabled with a head’s up display helmet, which is pretty cool.
If there was a top five list of bio-hacks, flying would have to be up there, number one for most people, right next to living longer or being invisible. ‘
Browning remains focused on smaller goals, like making his product market-ready. That means he’ll have to make it safe enough that the average person can use it or at least understand that this isn’t a product for the average person.
At the current price of $250,000, it’s clear this isn’t for anyone. What I want to know is what does DARPA have to say about it?
There is no mention of them stepping in, which makes this writer wonder what they’re working on since they’re not interested? They only show us they’re dumb stuff like we’re not onto them.
We see you DARPA.
Speaking of corporate sponsorship, Browning’s design has the attention of Red Bull, ensuring that we are only months away from the first Daedalus flying suit race. Great.
So, are you ready for another technology from science fiction to step into science reality? This year, Iron Man suit, next year, The Avengers! Nahhh.
Here’s a quick video of him in action: