University (ASU) researchers. It’s part of a project known as 4MM and is designed to help the soldiers run a mile (1.6km) in only four minutes. The project aims to develop a new technology that will help soldiers move faster with more weight while on the ground.
Thomas Sugar, from the Human Machine Integration Lab at ASU, was working on a technology to help amputees when the US Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA) asked him to develop robots that would help able-bodied people run faster while carrying more weight.
Working with Engineering student, Jason Kerestes, he came up with a Jetpack device. They are now in the testing and refining prototype stage. So far, they’ve managed to shave seconds off of the wearer’s run. This they did while continuing to load him up with kilos of test equipment. “If you think of a Navy SEAL or a soldier that must get in somewhere quickly – and get out just as quickly,” Kerestes says in the video.
They have managed to reduce the amount of force and though their device does not enable one to fly, it has instantaneous thrust and can be triggered to allow for agile motion and faster movement.
Dr Sugar says that they had doubts about the project in the beginning but so far the results are 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.”
One of the test subjects ran three seconds faster with the Jetpack on a sprint, while carrying an extra 11.2 pounds (5 kg) of weight.