The fact that there’s a book about long distance running and a techie post about this project in the same week is pure coincidence, I assure you! But what DO we have here!? Researchers at Arizona State University had a request from the Pentagon’s research arm, DARPA, to see whether they can cobble together robotic augmentations for ordinary humans to make them supremely fast and agile. Hence, the “4 Minute Mile” Project (4MM) that will see a jetpack help soldiers be as fleet footed as the first messenger who helped deliver the message across the original ‘marathon’.
A certain Mr. Kerestes shared, “If you think of a Navy SEAL or an Army soldier that has to get in somewhere quick and do whatever they’ve gotta do, but maybe get out of there just as quickly, so these devices can really help soldiers to not only accomplish their goals and succeed in their missions, but potentially save human lives as well.”
Recent test trials that involved the 4MM jetpack would enable a subject to shave off three seconds from a 200 meter sprint – even when he was toting an additional 11 pounds on his back. The mile took him 5 minutes and 2 seconds to complete, as opposed to 5 minutes and 20 seconds without the assistance of the jetpack. 18 seconds could be the the difference between life and death in a typical warfare arena. The target? A four minute mile, hence the name of the project. I certainly hope they get there. As it stands it sounds like the added weight and benefit are way too close.