Five Sports Possible Through Technology
DRIVING A FLYING CAR
The Terrafugia Transition is a world first: a flying car. The two-seat car-plane prototype was unveiled at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, after completion of a successful test run. Now anyone can own their own flying car; the Transition - which is a Light Sport Aircraft (S-LSA) - has a flying range of 425 nautical miles and can reach top speeds of 105 miles per hour in the air and 115 mph on the ground. The vehicle is pretty light weight too; without any excess weight on board, it comes in at 440 empty kilograms and has a gross take-off weight of 650 kilograms. Prices start at $279,000.
DRIVING A CAR THAT IS FASTER THAN A BULLET
Although not available to the public just yet, the Bloodhound opens up exciting possibilities in the world of speed. This Bloodhound SCC is about to challenge the land-speed record - which currently stands at 763.035 mph - to top the 1,000 mph barrier (mach 1.4). Bloodhound's 900mm diameter wheels will turn at speeds of over 10,000 rpm and will generate power of 50,000 radial G. It can withstand air pressure of over 12 tonnes per square metre due to a solid carbon fibre bodywork. Bloodhound uses jet, rocket and piston-engine power. It is 44 feet long and weighs 6.5 tonnes. If Bloodhound achieves its goal, it will be faster than the record for the fastest low altitude jet, which stands at 994 mph.
Wingsuit flying is the latest in the evolutionary progression of extreme air sports, and is even more hair-raising than the feats pulled off by BASE jumpers. A person brave enough to perform wingsuit flying either jumps from an aircraft or from a high ledge in order to start with enough altitude. Wingsuit flyers can soar at a greater horizontal angle, similar in physics to hang gliding, and only have to pull their parachute chords at the very last leg of their descent. Flyers can perform all sorts of acrobatics thanks to the technology in the design of the wings, which are designed to offer flyers the dynamics and weight / gravity balancing capabilities of a bird and allows maximum movement and flexibility when in the air. Typical wingsuit flyers can adjust speed by increasing or decreasing the vertical angle (thus changing the air resistance), and as can be seen in this video, some of the most skilled thrill junkies can travel over 200 mph while soaring mere inches away from sheer rock faces.
Powerbocking is a sport made possible by jumping and running with elasticised stilts attached to each foot. Each stilt houses a spring that can basically enhance and increase people's capabilities in terms of running, jumping and somersaulting. Powerbocking has become a recognised sport. Each stilt is made of a foot plate that has bindings similar to those on a snowboard. They have rubber foot pads and fibreglass spring technology that can enable the user to jump to around 1.5 metres clear of the ground. The spring technology also enables running speeds of up to 20 mph, taking strides of over two metres each.
Surfing has been considered a ‘cool’ sport for decades, but what if you strap an engine on your board? Now we’re talking. But we’re making it sound a lot more elementary than it actually is. The team at behind the Powerki board have constructed a carefully-tuned machine capable of propelling thrill-seekers at over 35 mph across the surface of water, running on a unique 363cc single cylinder engine. While they’re currently still in pre-production and available only to a choice handful of distributors, after seeing the fun you can have on one and the tricks pros are pulling off, it’s no surprise that the general populace are already lining up to pay a good $8k to get their hands on the Igniter 360 model.