This jetpack prototype could save soldiers’ lives in battle


Jason Kerestes working on his jetpack

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It’s an exciting time to be alive. Wearable technology is weaving itself deeper into our everyday lives and robotics are changing the future of medicine. Put those two things together and you’ve got yourself one badass soldier. Jason Kerestes, a student at Arizona State University, has developed a wearable exoskeleton jetpack that may one day save the lives of those who wear it.

We could only imagine what Macgyver would’ve done with one of these jetpacks after he defused that time bomb with a paper clip.

No, you won't be able to take off and fly like Superman, but by reducing the amount of thrust, the user becomes quicker and more agile in their movement. This is perfect for soldiers on a mission who need to get in and out quickly and potentially save their lives in the process.

"We found that in a warfare-type arena this could be potentially the difference between life and death," Kerestes said in a video released by ASU.

Kerestes said that the ultimate goal is for the user to be able to run a four-minute mile, when they weren’t able to before. That means running at a speed of 15 miles per hour! Roger Bannister was the first man to achieve this amazing feat back in 1954 with his own two legs.

Testing the jetpack

Working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency asked Kerestes and Thomas Sugar, professor at the Human Machine Integration Lab, to create a robot that could assist able-bodied people. The project, aptly called 4MM for four-minute mile, is now in testing stages. So far, the results have been good: in 200-meter distance trials they have seen a decrease in time getting from point A to point B (shaving a few seconds off of the user’s time), and a decrease in metabolic cost (meaning the user expended less energy running at high speeds). That’s pretty remarkable given the fact that there’s an 11.2 pound jetpack strapped to their back.

Check out the jetpack prototype here:

The 4MM project is part of an ASU program called iProjects, which brings students and industry together to find innovative solutions to real-world problems.