Soldiers hope to gain superpower speed with new jetpack

Ever wonder what it might be like to be the fastest superhero in the world? Well that dream is getting closer to reality through the work of several Arizona State University students on a jetpack designed to help soldiers run faster.
The project is called 4MM, which represents the jetpack’s goal: to help soldiers run a four-minute mile almost effortlessly. 4MM is part of ASU’s eProjects program, which pairs student entrepreneurs with sponsors that help them take their ideas to the next level. 4MM is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
[vimeo 98084869 w=500 h=281]
The prototype doesn’t function in the same way as a traditional jetpack. Instead, it straps to your lower back and uses fans to apply thrust to your hips. It creates a permanent tailwind at your back that helps you run faster.
Using the device definitely helps runners move quicker, but 4MM is still shy of their ultimate goal. In the above video, wearing the jetpack helped a test runner shave about 18 seconds off of his mile run time, but it couldn’t propel him to a four-minute mile.
In addition, the jetpack weighs about eleven pounds, which may offset the benefits of running a few seconds faster.
Read: From jetpacks and LEGO sorting to better barbecues, ASU eProjects excite – slideshow
So, while it may not bring you super speed, it has a noticeable effect. And although dreams of running as fast as the Flash might not be fully realized, innovative approaches like 4MM are bringing us closer than ever.
Video courtesy of ASU. Image taken from ASU video.