UK start-up Gravity has become the first company in the world to be awarded a patent for “A wearable flight system”. In layman’s terms, Gravity has patented a ‘jet suit’. The company reportedly even referenced the Marvel comic hero Iron Man in its patent application. Gravity’s jet suit, like Iron Man’s, utilises propulsion units attached to the lower arms and which are used to steer.
The jet suit patent was granted by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office. The description of what the patent covers reads in full:
“A wearable flight system with a number of propulsion assemblies including a left-hand propulsion assembly and a right-hand propulsion assembly worn on a user’s hands and/or forearm.
“Preferably a body propulsion assembly is provided with support for a user’s waist or torso. Leg propulsion systems may also be provided.”
Gravity was only founded in 2017 but has already issued several improved iterations of a working jet suit. Founder Richard Browning has earned an entry into the Guinness Book of Records. The record held is “the fastest speed in a body-controlled jet engine power suit”. The ‘multi-gas turbine engine Jet Suit’ has a top recorded speed of 55mph. The record was established, rather than broken, by Browling who has given demonstrations of the suit in more than 20 countries over the past couple of years.
Before getting too excited that jet suits will be available at local dealerships in time for Christmas, the invention is unlikely to commercialised for mainstream sales any time soon. It’s only flown at speed over water and is can still be considered an exhibition technology rather than a commercially viable one. But, then again, that’s how most of the latest technology in world starts out. It’s perfectly possible that future models of the jet suit might be more mainstream. Not so much in terms of strapping yourself into one to fly to work but as an activity to try on holiday or as a hobby in a controlled environment.
Gravity’s near term ambition is to popularise the technology within the context of a competitive racing series. The concept is that teams of jet suit flyers would compete against each other on different courses located in a variety of international locations. A little like an Iron Man Formula One.
The company reports that it is already in discussions with potential sponsors, broadcasters and host cities. The ambition is to potentially launch the series before the end of this year.