How I built a jet suit | Richard Browning
Articles Blog

How I built a jet suit | Richard Browning

August 8, 2019


Michael Browning: engineer, innovator — inventor, really — and inspiring father. He had a passion for flight,
as you can kind of sense from that rather dubious
1970s office-leaving present. And some 40 years after that was created, a small group of us got together to have a go, a run at the whole challenge of flight
that inspired people for years, and do it in a very different kind of way. And that’s the journey I’d like
to share with you now. The starting hypothesis was one
of the human mind and body, which, as you’ve seen
for the last few days here, is an amazing construct. What if you augmented
that wonderful machine with just the right technology? If you approach flight
in that kind of real way, where could you get to? So my training partner here
back in London, Denton, is doing a much better job
of that kind of stuff than me. Guess what? It’s London. The idea was that you augment that. And so, how do you augment that? Well, we bought one of these. This is a micro gas turbine. This was ground zero, so that little piece of kit
proved really quite impressive, so we got two in a field. The real hero here, by the way,
is, right in the background, there’s a lady tending some vegetables, who does a brilliant job
of trying to ignore us for a while — (Laughter) I think the only thing
less happy is the grass, that we did probably damage quite badly. You get an idea of the thrust here, when I try to hold them horizontally
and somewhat fail. That’s around 50 kilos of thrust there. We were quite impressed with that. We thought we were getting somewhere. So there’s only one sensible way
to go from there: you get four. (Laughter) I have to say, I still like
watching these back. So then we thought well, let’s try
and spread the load a bit. The legs are designed to take the load, so why don’t we spread it out a bit? That bit was good. The harness — a nice idea but it didn’t really work, as you’ll see now. This whole journey was very much
about trying things — (Laughter) Yeah, it really didn’t work, did it? Trying things and learning
by failing at them most of the time. And that included failing by falling over. If you notice, we’ve got
five engines here — not to be put off by the fact
one was in maintenance, still had a go. (Laughter) And then I pinched a fuel line. So again, good learning.
We learned not to do that again. This was a blind alley. (Laughter) This was three on each arm — that was ridiculous. That was 70 kilos on each arm. Again, struck that one off. (Laughter) But we were starting to make
some really quite convincing progress, just enough to make you
believe that maybe — maybe we could get there. You can see, look — tantalizing. The model of one on each leg
and two on each arm, on paper, that was enough thrust. And then we did what
I’m about to show you now, and I still love watching this one. This was our first six-second,
reasonably coherent flight. (Applause) That was the point where
this endeavor went from: “I’m really not sure
this is going to work,” to: “Oh my god, it does work!” From there on we then refined it, but we carried on falling over a lot. Falling over, like I say, is definitely
the best way to learn. After a while, we starting
really refining the layout of all of this. And you’ll see,
that’s stability and control — there’s no wires there or anything — that’s a combination of us
refining the technology, including with a Tupperware box
on the back for the electronics and actually learning
the balance and control. I’m now going to save your ears
for the next short piece and talk over it. After a while, the jet engine
noise is a bit annoying. This is only a few weeks ago. You can see the stability and control
is really quite nice, and I’d like to think this somewhat
validates that starting hypothesis, that the human mind and body,
if properly augmented in that way, can achieve some pretty cool stuff. I mean, like I said: I’m not thinking about where
I’m moving my arms at that stage. I’m looking at the objective
of where I want to get to, and a bit like riding a bike, my arms are just doing their thing. It’s a very strange experience. So where is all this headed? I’ll talk over this landing — I think I land in this one. Well, I don’t think anybody’s going
to go down to Walmart or take the kids to school
in any of this stuff for a while, but the team at Gravity are building
some awesome technology that’s going to make
this look like child’s play. We’re working on some things that will seek to bring
this unusual experience of flight to a wider audience, beyond the events
and displays we’re doing. We’re even starting to look
for pilots two and three, if there’s any volunteers. I’ve got this vision. It sounds audacious,
but let’s just stick it out there, that one day maybe we can
rise up above a beach, fly up and down the coastline
of it, rise up a bit higher, with some of the safety kit
we’re working on to make this achievable. Then over the horizon comes
a Hercules with the ramp down. As it comes past,
you start picking up speed and see if we can intercept — from the rear, not the front,
that would be a mistake — and then try and land in the back. And as I say, that’s a little
way off at the moment. But this is also, if I take
a big step back from this, this is also a very
personal journey for me. Back to that lovely photo, or photo in a picture. Sadly, my father took
his own life when I was 15, and left an awful lot
of unfulfilled ambition. He was a wonderful inventor, a maverick creator. And I’d just like to think,
if it was possible, if he was looking down, he would be — he’d certainly be smiling at some
of the things we’ve done here, I think. So, it’s a tribute to him. Thank you very much. (Applause) (Voice-over) Richard Browning:
I’m probably more nervous about doing the demo after this. I’ve got a lot of things
to get done today. Worst-case scenario,
we don’t get a clean start. Or we get an unplanned failure
while I’m actually flying around. This is why we keep it very low, so the worst is I just look like an idiot
and fall on my rear, as I said. So you can all enjoy that if that happens. (Music) (Jet engine accelerates) (Cheers)

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Expensive toy and nothing more .. No practical application for daily use.. Put enough mini jet engines on me or strap me to a rocket and I can fly into outer space.. Really!! What's innovative about that?

  2. si, Richard tiene razón: “El cuerpo y la mente humana, conectados de una manera adecuada, pueden alcanzar grandes cosas”

  3. The next step is to add an exoskeleton to carry the weight and allow you to carry more engines and fuel, and with integrated fuel lines to prevent pinching. And while we're at it, we could integrate the fall protection armor with the exoskeleton…

    Inb4 we actually get Iron Man armor that actually looks like Iron Man in 10 years.

  4. i often wonder what type of piss poor, debbie downer mother-fuckers dislike such awsome videos and hard work. great video

  5. This reminds me of 3DM, what if the high pressure is not for flying but for rappelling, the high pressure for acceleration! this is not just an idea BUT an innovation!!

  6. Art imitates life or life imitating art? combine this with an exoskeleton suit and we'll have a real life iron man suit…attach artillery and we have war machine…next 5 years going to be very interesting..future of modern warfare going to be very interesting

  7. How do I get Ted Browning to see these people, that can handle way more power of thrust than he ever will:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYW5DFRFobc

  8. Most striking is that he likens human flight to riding a bike, and after a bit, it becomes natural 👍 Well said!

  9. 2:05 Reminds me of suits from Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. I would be happy to leap high like that seems extremely fun and thrilling.

  10. nice job, i do have a small input on the design. keep the main thruster on the back pack. those thruster in your arms, move them on a swivel of the back pack this will control direction and stability, they can be controlled by your hands via linked forward controls "can be controlled by wired or cable", by wired might be best. at this point you can use an ECU to control stability. any request or concern please follow up [email protected], i love new technology

  11. Incredibly impractical. This thing needs Segway style balance control but in 3D. Also how long can you support yourself with your arms? Backpack mounting would be much more sensible. You could then use your arms in the same way to control the thing. I always imagined Iron Man's suit to be a rigid exoskeleton that carries the weight of itself including it's thrust, so it would never exhaust your muscles.

  12. The reason there wa a failure with the Legs Jets….comes from depending way too much on your arms.
    Take OFF the Arms Packs, LOWER the Leg Jets, and Start from SCRATCH to learn the LEGS part.
    These are two separate activities, which must be learned from scratch, separately.
    Or until you can make an actual Iron Man suit, with AI and supercomp capabilities.

  13. Ha que chodo me pongo propulsores en las manos y por don se puedan acomodar y listo vuelo y arreglo detalles , porfavor esto debe ser superchetado para que sea seguro

  14. а почему бы им на основе этих двигателей не зделать байк или типа скутера на перемещение на более значительные растояния и при этом чтоб он не был громосским а имел возможность приземлится на парковочное место например

  15. Could this be more accessible for the majority if it was kept with a jetpack design and controllers… hover commands.. and gyroscopes with electronics… like a modern jet on your back that requires no effort surely that's got to be the ultimate goal?

  16. They had an article in the paper about these – I'm not sure they are perhaps useful for the military ? Maybe I'm wrong but they look very cumbersome and obvious.

  17. The guy is fake he only has one camera angle. He's just been lifted up by a crane with thin line like all of his other videos. He never travels more than 10 m in a circle because the crane can't move him any further than that. If I had a jet so I would fly away and over houses he ever does this. They are only RC jet engines yes they do push out a little bit of thrust but like anything you need to control it which he can't. just watch any of his other videos and all of the camera angles are the same he doesn't want you to see anything above him. Another video of him on a lake they are called cable Lakes and they tow him around about a kilometre and it's funny because there's no thrust on the water which proves it's just towing him around in a circle. just listen to him at the start it was just over sell himself

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *