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Paramedic Shows Off Jet Pack's Potential To Save Lives In Viral Video

Ryan Ford 1 Oct 2020

There was a time when the perfect symbol of a bright, shiny, technology-soaked future was the jet pack. We were all supposed to be able to wear a thruster on our backs to get from one place to another in a jiffy, right? Well, so far, no, not so much. Instead, we got the Segway, which is indeed a lightweight personal transportation device but it's also decidedly not a jet pack.

That's not to say that jet packs have proven impossible to build. They're just not quite what we thought they'd be. But as one inventor is showing, even if we don't all have a jet pack of our own, they can still be incredibly cool and usher in a better future.

Britain's Gravity Industries and the Great North Air Ambulance Service have a vision for what jet packs should be for and it has nothing to do with comic books.

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But that's not to say that the folks they want wearing their jet packs aren't heroes.

For about a year, Gravity has been in talks with GNAAS to outfit paramedics with jet packs and as a recent test shows, the life-saving potential behind the idea is remarkable.

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It's a bit weird and clunky looking with a large engine on the back and a pair on each hand, but with Gravity's jet pack, the paramedic did indeed take flight.

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At least, the paramedic's stand-in, as Gravity's founder and the jet pack's inventor, Richard Browning, did the honors of performing the test flight.

Browning told The Guardian that although the jet pack can only fly for about five minutes right now, it can reach top speeds of up to 80 mph, and it's fairly easy to control.

"All the maneuverability comes down to your own human balance and coordination," he said. "If you point the jets increasingly down you go up and if you flare them out you go down again."

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For the test, a scenario was cooked up in which Browning would have to locate a couple of hikers stranded in rough, hilly terrain in Britain's Lake District.

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Drone video captured Browning soaring over the terrain, often just 10 to 20 feet off the ground.

A paramedic on foot would have needed upwards of half an hour to traverse the terrain; Browning made short work of it, arriving on the scene just 90 seconds after take-off. In an emergency situation, that kind of time difference can mean life or death.

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Officials at GNAAS, who first floated the idea of giving paramedics jet packs, were duly impressed after seeing the jet pack in action.

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"There are dozens of patients every month within the complex but relatively small geographical footprint of the Lakes," GNAAS's director of operations, Andy Mawson, told the BBC. "We could see the need. What we didn't know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well we've seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome."

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In fact, Mawson was so impressed with the demo that he's hoping to get real paramedics into the jet packs as early as summer 2021.

He envisions the paramedics carrying pain relief with them and possibly a defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest.

"Nobody in the world would expect as an air ambulance we could get to someone in a jet suit in a matter of minutes and get them pain relief or in the worst cases save someone’s life," Mawson told The Guardian.

"We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before. In many cases this would ease the patient’s suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives."

h/t: The Guardian, BBC

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