Monday, October 8, 2012

New Hover Bike ‘Like Something From Star Wars’

A new hover vehicle resurrected from abandoned 1960′s design plans has sparked a rash of comparisons to the hover bikes famously seen zipping through the forest in Star Wars film Return of the Jedi (see below for picture). The original design was abandoned nearly half a century ago due to stability issues and problems with rollover which could not be fixed at the time. But California based tech firm Aerofex have now fixed these problems with an innovative new control system.

A Hover Bike from Return of the Jedi
The new system uses knee level control bars which respond to the pilots leaning movements and harness the pilots own innate sense of balance to maintain stability. Because of the fact that this system responds to natural movements by the pilot / rider (I prefer rider, they say pilot) it is highly intuitive to fly, leading its makers to speculate that in the future vehicles like this could easily be flown by riders without the need for training.

The vehicle uses two ducted rotors to hover just feet of the ground.
“Think of it as lowering the threshold of flight, down to the domain of ATV’s (all-terrain vehicles),” says Mark De Rocheone of the founders of Aerofex.
Unfortunately for anyone out there like me who really, really wants one of these right now, the firm has no plans to make a production version of the vehicle for general sale anytime in the near future. Instead they plan to use this prototype as a test platform to develop new unmanned drones. Shame on you Aerofex, for depriving the public of the joy that I’m sure these things could bring to so many.

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