Help Kickstart This Quadrotor So That We Can All Have Hoverbikes

Make the dreams of every human on the planet come true by helping to fund the development of a real hoverbike

2 min read
Help Kickstart This Quadrotor So That We Can All Have Hoverbikes

Early this year we wrote about Aerofex, a California company developing a personal hover vehicle and planning to begin selling a commercial model in 2017. Now a second company, based in the U.K., has unveiled its own plans to build a full-scale hoverbike.

In addition to raising money from private investors, Malloy Aeronautics is taking to Kickstarter to fund its hoverbike project. The project is still getting off the ground, so to speak, so Kickstarter backers won't be getting an actual hoverbike as reward but are promised a cool quadrotor with impressive payload capability and an unusual design (overlapping rotors and a foldable frame).

It all started in 2011, when a New Zealander (i.e. crazy dude) named Chris Malloy built himself a mostly working hoverbike. It was essentially a motorcycle, except that the wheels were rotated horizontally and replaced with big ducted fans. The prototype got airborne, which is way more than can be said for most things that sound too good to be true:

Malloy has since changed the design from a bi-copter to a quadcopter to simplify the control and other systems that would be required for a two-rotor vehicle ("with current technology we could not design a bi-copter cheap enough for safe and competitive sales," he says).

The quadcopter design uses two pairs of rotors that overlap to help conserve space and weight, which is an interesting (and patent pending) idea. Here's a full scale frame:

Cool, right? But still a long way to go, and as with any product, some amount of ca$h money is required to incrementally build and test prototypes, especially if you want to make hoverbikes available to humanity for the low low price of $55,000 within the next decade.

To raise those funds, Malloy started a company and launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The campaign allows you to get your hands on a one-third scale model of the latest incarnation of the hoverbike, with funds from the campaign going towards the full scale manned vehicle:

A mini hoverbike of your own will only cost you about US $1,200. Expensive, yes, but remember: you're investing in the future of our dreams.

[ Hoverbike ] via [ Kickstarter ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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