The Jetpack is one of the modules of a project namely 4MM and is built to enable soldiers run a mile in just 4 minutes. The project aspires to mould a new technology that will enable soldiers to move speedily with more weight while on the ground.
Thomas Sugar, from the Human Machine Integration Lab at Arizona State University, was trying to build a technology to help amputees, when the US Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA) urged him to design robots that would enable people run at high speeds while carrying more weight.
He teamed-up with engineering student, Jason Kerestes and built a Jetpack device. At present the pair are testing and refining the prototype. To date they have succeeded in cutting seconds off of the wearer’s run. ‘This device is built specially for a navy SEAL or a soldier who needs to get in and out quickly, and without being seen,’ says Kerestes.
The team has been able to cut the amount of force and although their gadget doesn’t allow one to fly, its instantaneous thrust can be activated to enable agile motion and speedier movement.
Dr Sugar says that the results so far have been more than encouraging. ‘In trials over a 200-meter distance (with the Jetpack), we saw a decrease in time and decrease in metabolic cost, the amount of energy required for a person to run at high speeds.’
During tests a person ran three seconds faster with the Jetpack on a sprint, while carrying an extra 11.2 pounds (5 kg) of weight.