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Bird Man Flies with Homemade Wings?

by Shane McGlaun
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Jarno Smeets is either one bad-ass geek or a bold-faced liar. This dude appears to have created one of my lifelong dreams using kite fabric and engineering prowess. Smeets has built for himself and one pair of flapping wings that apparently allow him to actually fly like a bird. I say “apparently” because I can’t decide if I’m just so shocked to see this actually work that my brain is telling me it’s impossible, or if the video was doctored somehow.

human_bird

This clip shows Smeets wearing a wing contraption and running through the park flapping and then taking to the sky. Smeets and his pals claim to have created the 40 pound wings and covered them carefully in kite fabric. You can see in the video that Smeets is flapping his arms like a bird. The controls are supposedly a pair of Wii remotes and the wings flap automatically mimicking his motions while holding the Wii controllers.

Smeets says he was inspired by several things including an albatross bird, Leonardo da Vinci sketches, and engineering sketches his grandfather made of a flying bicycle. The man also had help from neuromechanics expert Bert Otten and the wings used some design tips from robotic prosthetics that help those that have lost limbs regain mobility.

All I can say is check out the video and let me know if you think it’s real or fake. Here’s hoping he doesn’t fly too close to the sun. Unless it’s fake. Then let him burn.

[via Wired]

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