Technology Time: Jet Packs
We’ve probably all seen it. The vintage, iconic images from the fifties and sixties showing the people of the future flying around using “rocket belts” “rocket packs” or “jet packs”, depending on when and who was talking about it. Take this snippet from a January 1969 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine:
“….the average commuter may, at last, have the long-awaited individual commuting vehicle that would whisk him from his front porch to his office entrance in minutes….”
Big claims, and sadly, ones that failed to come true… Until now:
The Martin Jetpack by New Zealand’s Martin Aircraft is the closest thing to bringing my childhood fantasies to life. If I place an order now and put down a 10 percent deposit, it could be mine in 12 months. The problem is coming up with the other 90 percent. No license is required to fly this in the U.S., though regulations may differ in other countries.
The jetpack itself is 5 feet tall and 5.5 feet wide and made of a carbon fiber composite with a pinch of Kevlar for the rotor. It uses regular gasoline and will travel a grand distance of 31.5 miles at a maximum speed of 63 mph, which should comfortably take you from home to office (and back) in a jiffy, and with a lot of noise.
Yes, you heard right, the jet pack has finally progressed from being a mere pipe dream to becoming a consumer-purchasable item. If you have $90,000 dollars, by next year, you could be flying around in your own personal jet pack.
How this impacts the technology of the future: While this type of technology is excessively cool, I don’t envision this being all that useful for most of us civilians. While it could have very specific purposes for certain jobs (imagine being a window washer and being able to use a jet pack instead of the rope and pulley system) by and large, it’s basically a toy. The eventual development of the hover technology in the stories will make turbine-driven devices such as the jet pack now for sale obsolete. With hovercars, hovertrains, and the PODS, transportation is pretty much covered, and any type of “hover pack” would be used solely for entertainment and leisure.
(Article thumbnail taken from the Martin Jetpack website.)
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