An inventor who built a real-life Iron Man suit so that he could fly through the air like Tony Stark has won a patent for his creation.
British entrepreneur Richard Browning has been awarded the patent for his "multi-gas turbine engine Jet Suit", which is capable of propelling the wearer at speeds of up to 55mph.
The patent describes "a wearable flight system with a number of propulsion assemblies".
These include "a left hand propulsion assembly and a right hand propulsion assembly worn on a user’s hands and/or forearm".
"Preferably a body propulsion assembly is provided with support for a user’s waist or torso," the patent states. "Leg propulsion systems may also be provided.”
Documents cited in the claim include Marvel Studios’ Iron Man, and note in particular Tony Stark’s use of a wearable flight system which utilises propulsion units worn on the hands.
Browning’s company Gravity Industries has been developing the jet suit since 2017.
The suit, which weighs around 25kg, consists of a specially designed exoskeleton, four arm-mounted gas turbine engines and two hip-mounted gas turbine engines.
These allow the pilot to take off vertically and fly use his own body as the thrust control, provided he is capable of holding his body weight for long periods of time.
Gravity claims that "vectored thrust" via arm control provides highly precise manoeuvrability, even in gusty wind conditions, that enable launch and landing pretty much anywhere.
The suit’s five gas turbines – which are not dissimilar to those found on a jet fighter – are capable of producing over 1000 brake horsepower.
However, the thrust to weight ratio of 1.3 is even more than virtually all combat aircraft, according to Gravity.
"Since launching Gravity in 2017, we have not stopped challenging the status quo," said Mr Browning, Founder and Chief Test Pilot of Gravity Industries.
"Today’s patent issuance is a giant milestone for Gravity which will enable us to continue to innovate and hopefully inspire others."
To date, Mr Browning has flown the Jet Suit in 70 locations across 22 countries around the globe. The longest flight has been approximately four minutes.
However, Browning claims the suit has the capacity to fly for up to 10 minutes at 50mph, allowing the wearer to cover about eight miles before needing to refuel.
In November 2017, he won the Guinness World Records title for the fastest speed in a body-controlled jet engine power suit – a brand new title created just for him.
He is now preparing to launch a "Gravity Race Series" in late 2019, which will see a new cohort of pilots putting their flight skills to the test, competing in teams on courses around the world.
"We will stay in the entertainment and niche mobility sectors for the foreseeable future," said Mr Browning, claiming that the Jet Suit is not an efficient way of moving around at this stage .
"But we do not rule out the possibilities of the electric/winged version becoming more mainstream, as the technology continues its rapid advance."
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