Are you a Star Wars fan? My whole family, minus my mom, are huge fans. We can spend quite a while talking about the Star Wars Galaxy, and our Star Wars Trivial Pursuit games are epic. That said, do you know what the TIE in TIE Fighter stands for? Twin Ion Engine is the answer. Is that just made-up drivel? Nope. Ion propulsion has been around for a long time, though, it is not exactly like what is pictured in the movie. As it is, ion engines don't produce a huge amount of thrust, but they are very efficient and powered by electricity! Now that we have established the real life technology behind the idea, let's introduce the not-real life side now.

As of this time, only a patent and an idea exist for the ion-propelled jetpack. Personal Flight Systems, a Silicon Valley based startup company (sound familiar?) has, they say, discovered a way to increase the thrust of ion powered engines, allowing them to create enough thrust to lift a human off the ground. The weight of his design is kept down, as the power is not stored on the device, but transmitted wirelessly to the vehicle. How? Using "ground stations based on theories from Nikola Tesla", according to the source article. Maybe he should get in contact with MIT first, they have a proven system in the works!

In conclusion, let me just say that I am interested in this design, but not very hopeful that it will work out. Perhaps somebody will one day create an ion engine with sufficient power to be useful for something other than fuel-efficient space travel, but until we actually see it in action, we should remain skeptical. Another thing to be skeptical about, until shown otherwise, is the wireless transmission of electricity from Tesla. Like I said, perhaps MIT's solution would work out. Anyway, I'm personally not holding my breath, but we'll see.

[Source: Personal Flight Systems via Gizmag]


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