Yes, that is a man wearing a jetpack, running 200 meters in 25 seconds. Welcome to DARPA, where anything is possible. (via Arizona State)
A new DARPA funded project in progress is a jetpack that would allow soldiers to run a 4 minute mile. Yep, forget flying technology. We're going old school with a project that seems more – well – down to earth.
While prototypes for flying jetpacks are super bulky, this pack is much slimmer and only weights about 11 pounds. It's worn like a backpack and is tilted horizontally to propel runners forward, faster. DARPA hasn't released any real details about the tech in this jetpack, which is to be expected of military technology. All that is known for now is that its power source runs dual rotors and has air intakes on either side. So, perhaps it is using air to generate propulsion? However, knowing DARPA, it's probably utilizing magic it sourced from a futuristic society... which is sourced using their top-secret, time machine. Duh.
Arizona State University's DARPA lab is calling this jetpack 4MM, which stands for 4 minute mile. That is the goal of this project, however, much work remains to be done.. Their recent trials have only made runners faster by mere seconds. However, the runners did use less energy to achieve their mile. Also, the figures don't account for how much the jetpack would slow down a runner due to the extra 11 pounds.
Still, they are confidently working towards fixing these problems. Even though soldiers could run fast, conservation of energy and ability to work at top-performance for longer is extremely important on the battlefield. 4MM intends to ensure all soldiers can run at top speed for longer in order to have a major advantage over their opponents. This new technology can not only allow soldiers to hatch a fast-escape plan when needed, but it can also allow new tactical plans that can make the difference between winning or losing; which in the game of war, translates into life or death.
If you look across DARPA's latest funded projects, like the Soft Exosuit and brain microchips to help repair the body, soldiers could be the next superhuman race. With a combination of 4MM and the Soft Exosuit, soldiers could drastically increase their endurance and strength.
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