Popular Mechanics has an informative piece on the many trials and tribulations of the fledgling “jet pack” industry, starting with the deceit in the name itself:
Then there’s the bad news. First, these jet packs aren’t what they seem: Jet-powered devices are in development (and models were tested as early as the ’60s), but all models on the verge of availability are, in fact, jet-free and called, officially, rocket belts. Second, while last year there were two commercial rocket-belt manufacturers–Mexico’s Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana (TAM) and Colorado-based JetPack International–there are now three: Thunderbolt Aerosystems, based in California, plans to start selling its ThunderPack TP-R2G2 rocket belt to customers this summer. Why is another entry in the fledgling human-flight business bad news? After all, three companies might be just enough to spur the kind of innovation that a healthy niche industry needs.
Well, that’s the problem with so-called jet packs: everything…
[BTW: Here’s a piece I did on the original Bell Rocket Belt many moons ago.]
Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.View more articles by Gareth Branwyn