Daedalus: Personal Transport or Extreme Sport?
Early in 2016, Richard Browning had a vision. He wanted to build a viable anti-gravity jet-engine suit and inspire solo human flight.
DS - So, are we heading for a new mode of personal transport?
RB - No. At most an extreme sport. Like dirt bikes – for example the X-fighters that do all the crazy stunts and fly through the air holding onto the handlebars. Not many very people commute on dirt bikes!
Red Bull X-Fighters
They are there because they are a laugh and it is fun to watch – that is exactly the arena of Daedalus. I would love to have Daedalus suits turning up at shows, maybe even a display team – especially if we can break that ceiling and go high, that would be phenomenal. Stand there, fly up and around, maybe chasing an aeroplane and then carefully come down over water, land and stand in front of the crowd. That would be mind-blowing.
What is your vision for the future of Daedalus?
I think it’s displays, I think it is wowing people, but with a very solid narrative underneath. Which is, if you’ve got a couple of hundred thousand pounds that you’d prefer not to spend on yet another gold-plated Lamborghini, we’ll happily take it off you and you can come away a week later with a custom-fitted, titanium, exoskeleton crazy flying suit. You meet a few times a year with other mad people to go and do something special that your mates could never have imagined. You’re part of an elite club.
Red Bull Air Race, Ascot, UK 2016
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it would be great to fly into a school that is a bit embattled and no-one really knows what innovation in engineering means – you can talk about it after you’ve got everyone’s attention by flying in and burning the playing field!
There’s also a corporate-speaking audience – there appears to be a great opportunity to talk about a real manifestation of innovation, which I think should play quite well, especially given my background in startups and corporate environments.
So with the corporate side of things, the training side of things and my big story with Daedalus, I think I have a fairly credible basket of things with which to speak powerfully about innovation.
See more from our exclusive interview with Richard Browning below:
- Gravity: The human propulsion flight suit
- When did the idea to build an HPT system first come to you?
- Can you tell us a bit about your engineering background?
- Did you ever doubt that the Daedalus system would work?
- Can you tell me about the HUD system you’ve developed using the Sony SmartEyeglass?
- How fit do you need to be to ‘pilot’ Daedalus?
- Are we heading for a new mode of personal transport?
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