Russian Runs by Leaps and Bounds
Posted by Cordite Eposognatus on Sat 11 Oct 2003 - 05:11
Roman Kunikov, a Russian airplane designer, has engineered a pair of boots which can propel a human at speeds of up to twenty-five miles per hour - faster than an Olympic sprinter.
Powered by a pair of gasoline-fired piston engines, the simple device drives the wearer foward with each step, is adjustable for different user weights, and has a run time of about 25 minutes.
I'm unimpressed. Such things have been done before, and usually without resorting to gasoline. Example:
Actually, IMHO, Bionic Boots (http://pages.zoom.co.uk/bionicboots/) are far superior to the Powerskip design, although as yet not marketed. There is a fourth, exceedingly elaborate type as well: The Springwalker (http://www.springwalker.com/)
The advantage I see to Kunikov's design is that it IS powered, which is the sort of technology those interested in using such devices for industrial/military applications are interested in, and this is borne out by the fact that the Springwalker is a prototype for a future servo-driven version as part of DARPA's Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation research (EHPA).
Also, if you look at the difference in bulk between the four types, Kunikov's is by far the most minimal, while meeting/exceeding the others in performance and ease of use.
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