Dutch Engineer Flies Using Custom-Built Bird Wings

#Travel

Wed, Mar 21st, 2012 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Wired posted this pretty crazy video showing Dutch engineer Jarno Smeets flying by flapping his robotic wings, which he completely self-designed and assembled. If this is legit, it's pretty damn impressive.

According to Smeets' calculations, he needed approximately 2,000 Watts of continuous power to support his roughly 180-pound frame and 40-pound wing pack. His arms could only really provide 5 percent of that, so the rest would have to come from motors. His arms and pecs would basically serve to guide the device and to flap the wings.

He built his electronic, wireless wing set out of Wii controllers, accelerometers harvested from an HTC Wildfire Android phone and Turnigy motors.

Update: The Internet is quick at debunking things, and it turns out that this was a hoax:

"...his wings are very small, and they flap very slowly. The first couple seconds of him after take off our patently absurd; you need to be applying -- somehow -- hundreds of pounds of force to the air to push you off the ground. Yes, fine, he has a wonderful wing design and some amazing motors and (apparently) zero weight batteries. Fantastic! But none of the components in that video are producing hundreds of pounds of force. (A commenter at Wired estimates that the servo motors are theoretically applying enough force to pick up a two ton load, in fraction of a second. If we had this tech, we could fly, although that wing design probably couldn't. We could also make Iron Man-style powered armour. Unfortunately, we don't have this tech.) The whole thing is multiple orders of magnitude off from the realm of 'remotely possible'."

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