Now, before you Scully me, let me just say this…I WANT TO BELIEVE! But, I’ll admit anyone with iMovie and a can of Mountain Dew can make a believable video these days. So, if I am wrong, so be it.
But in the meantime, here are the deets.
Smeets’ flying apparatus was inspired by the albatross and some futuristic flying bicycle his grandfather had drawn. Of course, flying bikes never really end well. So Smeets turned to Da Vinci for further inspiration. And with the help of a neuromechanics expert, he was able to realize his design.
“I have always dreamed about this. But after 8 months of hard work, research and testing it all payed off,” Smeets said on his YouTube page.
The wings are like prosthetic arms. Really large and floppy prosthetic arms. But since his arms could only provide a portion of the required flapping to actually achieve flight, the suit required some external motors. And the whole system was controlled using Wii controllers and aceelerometers pulled from an HTC Android phone.
If this thing is real, I sense an HTC ad campaign in the near future.
“It’s important to sew the seams carefully, and give the wing shape extra strength without making it too heavy. The top part of the kite will be folded around the ribs to create an aerodynamic shape. For extra lift and control I’ll stretch a piece of kite fabric between the legs, as some sort of tail wing,” says Smeets. The wings themselves weigh in around 37-ounces.