Your personal jet -pack, now on pre-order…

I said when I started this blog that I’d shy away from the flying cars and jet-packs. But that pesky ol’ thing called Progress is already making such claims look a little foolish. Yesterday, I blogged a prototype flying car/bike, picked up by the U.S. military for development. Today, a working commercial/personal jetpack.

Yes, you’ll be able to buy a personal Tomorrowland-style jet-pack next year, from the $100m company Martin Aircraft in New Zealand. They have a proven track record, test videos, and recently showed a simulator demo at the Paris air-show. The jet-pack, albeit lacking a certain Tomorrowland designer sleekness, can be yours for a mere $150,000. You can take off and land from just about anywhere.

Also in this week’s news are working robot tentacles, power exo-skeletons, holo-trucks, and (allegedly, I’m sceptical) levitating hover-boards.

Of course, it’s early days with all this stuff. As with the early days of designing what we now understand as the bicycle, we’ll no doubt see a great many weird and wonderful designs for such personal flight equipment, before someone alights on the equivalent of the Safety Bicycle + pneumatic tube tyres. But while we’re waiting, even older people may soon be flying via remote camera in the real world — I like the idea that if you want to experience flight, you stay safely on the ground in a rocker-chair while wearing a wrap-around HD holo-lens, and a controllable wi-fi linked HD drone camera does the actual dangerous flying for you. There could be some interesting weaving of augmented reality into that scenario, potentially laying either the future or the past over the real world as seen from above — akin to The Monitor in Tomorrowland.