Finally, A Working Jet Pack

Well, kind of. This is one of [Jason Kerestes’] latest projects as a masters engineering student at the Arizona State University — A jet pack designed to increase your running speed by quite literally giving you a boost.

It’s one of the proposed solutions to the 4MM (4 Minute Mile) project, which is part of the ASU Program called iProjects, which brings students and industry together to solve problems. The 4MM project is trying to find a way to make any soldier able to run the 4 minute mile — quite ambitious, but DARPA is actually working on it with [Jason]!

The whole rig only weighs 13lbs and features two electric turbines which provide the thrust. They originally tested the concept by seeing if you could pull a person with an electric golf cart around a track to make them run faster — turns out, you can. Further more scientific testing led them to find that there is a specific thrust to body-weight ratio that works best, with the direction of thrust about 25 degrees below horizontal. 

Through clinical testing they found that the jet pack is able to increase running speeds while maintaining a lower heart rate — and that’s with the extra weight of the jet pack. A 200m dash was completed in 25.27 seconds with the jet pack, and 29.82 without.

As for the 4 minute mile? One of their test subjects can run it in 5 minutes 20 seconds, or 5 minutes 2 seconds with the jet pack — unfortunately they aren’t quite there yet.

55 thoughts on “Finally, A Working Jet Pack

  1. Am I the only one who is disturbed by DARPA’s projects to make trained killers even more effective? Running faster is cool, but not if it’s to be able to kill more people more rapidly…

    1. Probably not, but this does not disturb met rather as much as it amazes me in all it’s infantile stupidity.
      If this was even only at 5% advanced LVL army tech the US has going for it, then I’m not at all surprised why a bunch of dessert dwelling reactionary idiots are so hard to fight by the US forces.
      I guess most of the senior political and army staff simply read to much cultureless comic books.

      1. Not sure there are very many who wouldn’t be reactionary if their country was occupied by the troops of the country aided the dictator of their country. They would be idiots if they weren’t reactionary

    2. Do not assume that just because a lot of people tend to die as a result of war that the aim of war is to merely kill people. It is far more complicated than that. If all the USA wanted to do was kill all of our enemies we could do that in about 20 minutes. We’d much rather they just saw things our way though. Sometimes changing people’s minds is a difficult task.

      1. Yeah but if you really managed to get rid of all your enemies you’d then have to disband the military and then you lot wouldn’t get to play with your toys anymore and deal with your hyperthyroidism somehow else.

    3. something that helps keep the killing between trained killers and leaving civilians out of the loop should always be promoted.

      Now the ultimate goal is something that keeps the politicians and policymakers that lead to conflicts in the loop as well instead of insulated by trained killers.

      disclosure: I have a lot of those “trained killers” in my family tree. Amazing how well they become fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, when the media is done demonizing them.

  2. I guess that makes sense, when you’re running your feet are off the ground momentarily, so that’s probably what’s lending most of the boost.

    I wonder if you could make one with those cheaper ducted fans you can buy for RC.

    1. Those look a lot like hobby ducted fans. Which makes me wonder if the same limitations apply. I hear they’re not very efficient unless in fast-moving air, and I wonder if running speed is enough. Mounting them directly behind the back in disrupted air flow, rather than to the sides, doesn’t make much efficiency sense either. Although efficiency isn’t necessarily the top concern if it will only be used for wartime.

  3. “seeing if you could pull a person with an electric golf cart around a track to make them run faster”

    If you want to live in a butcher shop, I’m gonna treat you like a piece of meat.

  4. Is it me or is it hilarious that he saved 18s on a run but they made him wear a helmet as if there were enough thrust to cause an injury ?

    As I always said before, the first step to any project is to reduce your liability at all cost, and then there is that thing about saftey

  5. Pitiful little boost. Some guy back in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s made a backpack out of 2×4 wood, a small gas engine, some bicycle sprockets and metal rods. The engine derove a crank which moved two levers behind his thighs. Padded straps held the levers to his thighs.

    Tops speed was around 25 MPH if I recall. I want to say it was in The Mother Earth News, might have been in Mechanix Illustrated or Popular Mechanics.

    Finding stuff that was in Mechanix Illustrated is difficult because it changed to Home Mechanix in 1984 (after an ever increasing amount of home repair and woodworking articles but ironically HM’s first cover article was about customizing Chrysler’s new minivan), renamed for the last time as Today’s Homeowner in 1996 then ceased publication in 2001.

    Prior to Mechanix Illustrated it had been (starting in 1928) Modern Mechanics and Inventions, Modern Mechanix and Inventions, Modern Mechanix.

  6. I have seen too many reactionary comments, then here comes my personal answer: Most of the tech we use everyday was at some point created to support troops during war, so why worry about “the ability of killing more people in less time” when what we are seeing is some piece of gear that can actually help us [CIVILIANS] at some point in the future?

    Let the Army fight their own wars, gentleman!

    1. If you do a cost benefit analysis, I think you’ll find that we can probably find cheaper and more effective ways to innovate than pumping it through the military-industrial complex. Or not. Nothing like fear to get cattle to line up and move.

  7. I don’t understand why they have the thrusters at more of a horizontal angle. I would think that the purpose of this would be to keep the person in the air for a longer period of time between steps therefore not using as much energy by the person and also allowing for larger strides to be made. I would think that the would put the thrusters more towards a -45 degree angle to provide more efficient thrust, especially since the thrust at a horizontal angle has no reference to push off. Maybe the should look into aeronautics, like maybe the space shuttle…

  8. From Wikipedia: A turbine, from the Greek τύρβη, tyrbē, (“turbulence”),[1][2] is a rotary mechanical device that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work. A turbine is a turbomachine with at least one moving part called a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades so that they move and impart rotational energy to the rotor.

    This is the second place I’ve seen someone call a pump or fan a turbine in the last week. I’ve worked in turbomachines for 10 years, and this is really annoying to me.

  9. I love how the comments for these sorts of projects immediately get filled with what sounds like a bunch of jealous teenagers trying to act tough and like they know how to better do what is being presented in the project.
    These folks working on this 4MM project are obviously not just the average hackaday hobby “hacker”, or a bunch of makerspace ninnies getting themselves wet over yet another pointless 3D printer.
    If any of you complaining about this project can do it any better than what has been presented in this write-up, by all means, SHOW US, instead of just coming here and whining about how pointless this idea is, or how it’s being wrongly implemented or whatever your personal butthurt derived beef is.
    Seriously, I haven’t lost faith in HAD, but these comments just make me want to distance myself further from the whole “hacking” scene, as if I really needed any further encouragement to do so.

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