A group of Japanese researchers has developed a high-tech backpack, one that could let you defy the pull of gravity just like astronauts on the space station.
The backpack, dubbed Lunavity, connects to series of overhead rotors that allow the wearer to jump two to three times higher and farther than physically possible on Earth.
Once the person wearing the backpack exerts upward force from his leg muscles, the rotors activate and elevate him up to a certain specified limit. From that point, they automatically start slowing down, gradually bringing the floating person back safely.
The whole thing serves as an easy-to-use harness that provides sufficient amount of thrust to keep the wearer airborne long enough. The experience is similar to taking a giant leap on the surface of the moon but without actual microgravity conditions.
University of Tokyo researchers, the group behind Lunavity, presented a non-functioning prototype of the backpack at the South by Southwest festival last week, something that suggests the backpack is still in the works. However, they did share an animated YouTube video showcasing how the device would work in the near future:
The team developed this device with the sole goal of augmenting physical human capabilities. They believe a tech like this, with further developments, could not only help people with disabilities but also eliminate the risk of tumbling or tripping on crosswalks and stairs, giving humans a whole new set of abilities altogether.
They demonstrated such uses in the video, along with some bizarre ones like jumping high-enough to water a tree or shooting ball toward the basket. That said, it still remains unclear when Lunavity would make into the market. They have neither given an official word on the release of the device nor on the pricing.
Over past few years, scientists have given special attention toward human augmentation, with several companies working on providing humans with extraordinary abilities. An Italian start-up has even shown-off a 3D-printed robotic glove which uses finger-based motion to provide people with the power of four rather than two hands.