Friday, January 1, 2010

Random | Happy New Year and all the jazz – but where’s my jet pack?

Happy New Year everyone!

As another year (and another decade) falls, we’re all getting ready to start our New Year’s resolutions.  Some of us may be reflecting on where we are on our journey through life.  And as you ponder that, didn’t you think you’d be flying around in a jet pack by now?  Two my Facebook friends have asked that questions today. JetPack

If you grew up watching as much of the tube as I did (and that’s the cathode ray tube of a television– not YouTube), surely by 2000 (let alone a decade past that) we all assumed we’d be jetting around town like James Bond or Buck Rogers (the real one – not Gil Gerad)?

Dan Wilson is author of a book Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived. Although many things that science fiction promised us have come true, I still have to drive my Jeep® to work .

"For me the jetpack is a symbol really of all the technology that I thought we should have by now but which we don't seem to," Wilson lamented on CBS Sunday Morning (back in 2007).

So what happened?

So why no jet packs?  In short - some good ideas just aren’t feasible:

  • Jet packs are kind of hot (1,300 degrees). If we sue McDonald’s over spilt coffee – I don’t think this won’t fly (as it were).
  • They are dang heavy (135 pounds). That might be okay for Ed White in the weightlessness of earth orbit – not so good hoisting out of your Mazda MPV.
  • Limited range: how far can you go in 43 seconds (that’s as far as they go today)? I know don’t want to move that close to work.
  • Quite simply - they are hard to fly (described as standing on a ball with a fire hose),
  • Most people can’t even merge onto the interstate properly or navigate a roundabout (especially here in Minnesota) – I don’t think the FAA is ready to handle all these take-offs and landing.
  • Texting while jetting?  That will be the next jihad du jour.

But if you really want one – there is a company (Jet Pack International) that claims to have some ready to go for sale to qualified folks (although soft-pedaled with “more details” to be coming).  No prices are mentioned on their website.

For me – I would settle for an iPhone battery that would hold a charge for at least half of a day before we ring in 2011.

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