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Man Flies Like a Bird, Flapping His Homemade Wings: VIDEO


Who hasn't at one time imagined what it would be like to be a bird?

Dutch mechanical engineer Jarno Smeets designed the wings himself, Gizmodo explains:

Smeets developed the wings over an eight-month period. They use a special motion mechanism built around an Android phone and Nintendo Wii controllers. His system allows him to literally start flapping his arms to take off and keep flying.

Like a modern Leonardo da Vinci, Jarno's took notes from nature. His inspiration was the albatross, which he closely observed to learn his takeoff technique.

Check out his flight, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Wow.

    Posted by: Markt | Mar 21, 2012 8:36:17 AM

  2. Must be like one of your dreams has come true...I can fly!

    Posted by: Vern Dufford | Mar 21, 2012 8:49:18 AM

  3. Can we please get a translation Mr. Smeets comments?

    Posted by: rayrayj | Mar 21, 2012 8:54:05 AM

  4. Very, very cool. Part of the advantage birds have over humans (besides proportional wingspan ratio to body size) is hollow bones and the ability to keep flapping continuously. Looks like he's solved all of those dilemmas handily! (And what a beautiful sweet smile of joy.)

    Posted by: Dback | Mar 21, 2012 9:05:36 AM

  5. Sorry, but this is a big fat fake.

    Posted by: Notkony | Mar 21, 2012 9:10:06 AM

  6. NOTKONY - explain yourself.

    Otherwise THIS IS NEWS! and I love it.

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 21, 2012 9:15:37 AM

  7. he's a cutie.

    Posted by: Chad | Mar 21, 2012 9:21:27 AM

  8. Here's a Wired blog about whether or not the video is fake. He doesn't have a final conclusion, but he does state that nothing in the video appears obviously fake.

    Posted by: ColinATL | Mar 21, 2012 9:24:56 AM

  9. this brought tears to my eyes.... he looked so happy, and he was so adorable! made my morning =-)

    Posted by: V-8 | Mar 21, 2012 9:26:04 AM

  10. @rayrayj

    You can turn on closed captioning on the YouTube video to see his comments.

    Unfortunately, I this is part of a viral campaign. In other words, fake.

    Posted by: Eric | Mar 21, 2012 9:36:20 AM

  11. Total fake. I'm guessing this is for some ad campaign. There's a CGI error on 'his' 13th video at the 1.50 mark - I've cued up the video at the link. Note the square black dot on the left wing. There's none on the right wing. The camera pans down for a moment and when it comes up there's also a dot on the right wing.

    Posted by: James | Mar 21, 2012 9:37:38 AM

  12. We didn't know this would be a historic video... so we used one (1) old/awful cell phone camera.

    Tripods? Steady video? Oh, it's more fun to just use handheld/jerking video instead.

    We all decided to quickly run AWAY from the plane at take-off... like we are all scared to death it's about
    to blow up. (Made the computer generated plane easier to fake... without people standing near it.)

    We do admit we had to use "plus some electric motors". Actually, only 5% of this is really human-powered...
    95% is electric motor powered.

    We like to video tape it as far away as possible... especially right during the take-off part.
    (We didn't want you to see when we switched from "live action" to "fake video". It would have
    been too obvious.)

    Also, we "accidentally" had someone walk right in front of the camera, right when we landed so you wouldn't
    see where we switched from "computer generated"... back to "real video". Oops! My fault!

    We decided to have the guy flap his arms wildly... even though he could have simply
    just moved his 2 wifi controllers up and down slightly.

    We thought it was best to show a lot of (stock) footage from the air... rather than keeping the
    camera on the plane itself. If you see video from high in the air... that PROVES we are
    really up there in this machine.

    We decided to only use 1 ground camera, all from just 1 angle. We didn't want 2-3 people with
    cameras pointed right at us! From front/sides/back/beneath angles. Why do you need to see *THREE* different
    sides of this. Just believe us! It really happened just like we say.

    We had to edit out some parts of the video. We are sorry. But we didn't want it all to be just 1
    continuous "take".

    We thought it was best to use a heavy 180 pound guy... instead of someone 120 pounds.
    We felt the extra 60 pounds would be "more fun" that way.

    We only allow GOOD comments to be posted on our blog about this feat. Anything that questions "how"
    we did this... or about the video... or about it not being real... will be deleted immediately.

    We made sure there was no annoying crowd of people watching us when we actually did this.

    Please do NOT ask to actually see the plane afterwards. We aren't showing it to anyone.

    Yes! You can send up money to help us work on this some more.

    No, we will NOT repeat this for worldwide news crews... or anyone else for that matter.
    We like to only do this historic stuff in private. Besides, we don't feel like doing it again
    tomorrow anyway.

    Posted by: Helen | Mar 21, 2012 9:55:17 AM

  13. I'm really skeptical about this. No doubt it would be amazing if real, it's like a childhood dream come true.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Mar 21, 2012 9:56:59 AM

  14. If he has succeeded, then this is truly on the same level as the day scientists figured out how bumble-bees are able to fly.

    We'll know soon enough.

    The dream is too old, the desire too strong for this not to be followed up.

    My training suggests it's a brilliant fake. My heart says: Yee-Haw!

    Posted by: enough already | Mar 21, 2012 9:57:41 AM

  15. I so wanted to believe this! But what really makes me question it is what happen at around 38 seconds into the video. On takeoff, the guy's legs are dangling below him (because legs are big and heavy). But then suddenly as he glides, his legs are stretched out behind him as if were lying flat and his legs suddenly became light as a feather. He couldn't possibly be moving quickly enough for this to happen naturally. Anyway, it was thrilling to suspend disbelief for a moment...

    Posted by: arundel | Mar 21, 2012 10:04:20 AM

  16. Awesome!

    There are several interesting updates on the Gizmodo pages discussing the authenticity of this video.

    Posted by: Charlie | Mar 21, 2012 10:30:41 AM

  17. Everything is impossible until it isn't. Thanks for posting this. Time will tell if it is a fake or not. a second demonstration in the near future will clear it up. If it is real they will do one soon. If they have something real, cash will flow in pretty quickly. I'd include a parachute next time.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Mar 21, 2012 10:34:47 AM

  18. I hate naysayers. Until we find out for sure if they're real or not, STFU.

    NY2.0, no, there are none of the things you claim in that video. I watched it twice.

    Arundel, watch it again, you can see him push his legs out. He's in a harness.

    Posted by: Bobby | Mar 21, 2012 10:39:46 AM

  19. the one thing you can be sure of is that the video is not doctored. As for if it's real, who cares!

    Posted by: Fenrox | Mar 21, 2012 11:10:53 AM

  20. Boo, HELEN. I want to believe. You make it hard to do so. Darn you!

    Posted by: TJ | Mar 21, 2012 11:16:47 AM

  21. Bobby,

    Science tells us to be skeptics. Why on earth should we take them at face value when it's easier to fake this than actually do it?

    The group won't do it in front of a news crew, scientists or even a small crowd of regular people. They won't let scientists even look at the contraption.


    Posted by: R | Mar 21, 2012 11:21:37 AM

  22. fake as hell.

    Posted by: me | Mar 21, 2012 11:39:23 AM

  23. This is part of a video viral ad campaign for the GoPro camera line. Andy, looking at you on this. If you cannot look at this video and tell BEYOND ANY SHADOW OF DOUBT that it is fake, something is VERY very wrong with you. The video blurs just at the very moment that the "craft" leaves the ground. Shadows and lighting are wrong. More blurs at just the right moments to hide the fakery. The harness the guy is wearing is FAR insufficient for what he's doing. he would only be hanging by his arms if that is all he wore.

    This is not only a fake, but it's a BAD fake. Shame on you for spreading it further.

    Posted by: Lee | Mar 21, 2012 12:07:53 PM

  24. helen elevated skepticism into a prose poem

    Posted by: khan | Mar 21, 2012 12:08:19 PM

  25. HELEN is a bad person. I am gullible. And flight is for the birds.

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 21, 2012 12:34:33 PM

  26. 1 2 »

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