1) You have the engineering fortitude to come up with something that has never been done before, and you choose to attach it to your body with a consumer grade backback? And not even a full hiking one with multiple points of attachment? No rock-climbing harness?
2) Fabric is waaay too loose on the wings to be effective in any kind of aerodynamic sense. At best this is a kite
3) He would "only be able to come up with 5% of the power needed", so he used a bunch of Turnigy motors and some magical super-compact power supply to provide the necessary lift? Not to mention, motors aren't exactly built for rapid oscillation back and forth, and I see no complex mechanisms to turn rotations into a very strong/rapid oscillating force
4) There are ZERO control surfaces on those wings to be able to pull up for a landing like he does. No, that pillow case between his legs doesn't count.
5) An Android operated system, that dynamically reads two separate wii remotes, and converts that accelerometer input into wing movements would not be that responsive.
6) No continuous shot from take-off to landing
7) No shot of the gear used to accomplish this, whether it be the motors/batteries/wiring/pulleys
Here is an example of what this man is claiming to have done, actually being done, by a team of engineers working for years:
2) If it's a kite and gets off the ground, so what? Worked, didn't it? Also, for wings, it just has to be glider plus produce enough thrust off the flapping to keep it aloft, yeah? We're not making an airplane here. EDIT: Looks like there is an internal core wing structure (http://www.humanbirdwings.net/wp-content/gallery/fixingwings...) with the extra fabric functioning somewhat like secondary feathers.
3) Motors alone aren't made for rapid oscillation--that's why we have other mechanical devices such as cams, pistons, etc. If you listen carefully at liftoff you can hear a highpitched whine, perhaps a small IC engine. EDIT: Confirmed as electric motors using battery packs.
4) You probably just need to change the angle of attack, and maybe dick around with Cg and Cp. So, until I see your numbers, I'm not discounting this out of hand.
5) Where in the press release does it say he uses an Android OS? It says he uses accelerometers from an HTC smartphone, sure, but I didn't see anything about running Android. EDIT: Taking my own advice, look here for system diagram: (http://www.humanbirdwings.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/exp...). He uses one phone per wing, plus additional computation power.
6) So what? That alone isn't implausible.
7) That's probably because this is worth good money in patents. EDIT: Check the website here (http://www.humanbirdwings.net/press/).
Why is it so absurd that this might work?
Maybe it's fake but plenty of effort went into it.
All of which is a long way of saying that he runs very slowly, his wings are very small, and they flap very slowly. The first couple seconds of him after take off our patently absurd; you need to be applying - somehow - hundreds of pounds of force to the air to push you off the ground. Yes, fine, he has a wonderful wing design and some amazing motors and (apparently) zero weight batteries. Fantastic! But none of the components in that video are producing hundreds of pounds of force. (A commenter at Wired estimates that the servo motors are theoretically applying enough force to pick up a two ton load, in fraction of a second. If we had this tech, we could fly, although that wing design probably couldn't. We could also make Iron Man-style powered armour. Unfortunately, we don't have this tech.) The whole thing is multiple orders of magnitude off from the realm of "remotely possible".
There are just so many red flags. The bizarre edits, the poor filming, the ridiculous design of the wing, the secrecy, the way nobody in the video acts right, the way the wing magically changes designs in different shots, the fact that the wing is clearly not fully loaded, the weird clothing and gear choices, etc., etc., etc. Wired has been hoaxed hard.
The wing surface (that kite he mentions sacrificing) is from one of these ( http://ride.slingshotsports.com/2012-Fuel# ) which is intended for exactly this sort of thing--supporting a human in flight.
Note that in the design blog the motors are being run through a 25:1 planetary gear. The family of motors in question can put out in excess of 2kw ( http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__17986__Turnigy_Ro... or http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProdu... ). So, no, the power plant is quite capable.
Mind you, 2000w does sound low. The Festo SmartBird weighs less than 500g, and uses around 25w to fly. If you scale it up linearly, that says 2000w would be enough for 40kg, which is less than half what we need. But the Festo SmartBird is a vastly more sophisticated design, and among other things actually flaps its wings in a way which generates lift, unlike this guys design. (Very useful, that.) It's going to be much more efficient than this wing design, so we're actually looking at a much larger power deficit.
Incidentally, the Festo SmartBird is a pretty amazing project; anyone who found this wing design interesting would probably be interested in it. Check out this writeup with a brief video of the bird in flight or this much longer video of the design process.
The second link, in particular, underscores just how impossible the idea of some guy on his own throwing together some wings and managing to fly is. Bird flight is an amazingly hard problem to solve, even for a bird sized model.
More usefully, I don't mind if this turns out to be a fake--but this off-the-cuff "no it is not possible ever" is so narrowminded when not combined with credible facts and analysis.
If you just flap and up and down you move up and down, but you don't fly. You need motion to cause forward acceleration, not just up and down bobbing.
Fake, it's simply impossible for the shown flapping method to cause him to fly.
See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSikfcJezy4#t=180s and notice how the bird folds the wings as it pulls them up, then spreads them as it pushes down. The folded wings give less resistance to the air than the spread ones, and that difference lets it fly. Without that you can't fly by flapping. To move forward it also has a front back motion that is harder to see in the video, but is still visible.
This video is very fake.
There is a Dutch news clipping from about a week after video 13 that shows the dude without the patch, which is puzzling. Again, easily explained as using an old photo from before 13, but still.
If we now switch to this mindset, the engineering and tools that we have today should allow us to achieve the desired goal.
So thanks for the hoax, Flying Dutchman - you have started something new here, and your name will not be remembered by what you did, but rather by what you did not and how others used your idea to achieve it.
1. He's received criticism about his videos before, but still insists on filming in random parks, only releasing to press after the event, and using blurry/shaky footage.
2. When he takes off, the camera shakes heavily. When he lands, someone steps in front to block the view.
3. At 0:35, his legs lift up so that his body is parallel to the ground (necessary for flight.) If he had been placing his legs on some sort of device for flight, why would the liftup be that smooth?
This would be awesome if it were real, but... just seems fishy.
It would seem that arguments about the system instead of the filming might, you know, be more productive.
In this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0tKFOcHyrI#t=101s
The switch happens in a moment of blur at 1:53.
Here's some damning evidence: http://i.imgur.com/LODDp.jpg
Top screenshots: Before CGI switch. Below images are after CGI switch.
When seeing a video they point the camera down, so you "forget" the exact details of the wing. But when you put them next to each other, it's a dead giveaway.
The color saturation is a little different, but the camera is at a slightly different angle to the sun too.
The black square is a bit suspicious.
I definitely noticed that they didn't show the landing clearly. I expected him to fall if he had any kind of velocity going but it wasn't clear, and that seemed fishy.
So, no, look at the equipment used, look at the mechanisms involved, and tell me that it is completely infeasible. Don't rely on analysis of some cheap Youtube video.
As for the black square, I'm willing to chalk that up to being under the fabric until its stretch taught.
EDIT: Black square is not under the wing--probably a patch if its real.
My guess is that the wings are not mechanical at all beyond being flexible, and he's just pulling on them to flap, and they pulled the guy from an ATV or something. His motion looks like a kite, when he's flapping wildly the front of his chest stays pretty stable and looks like it's anchored. The wings look like they could be modified versions of those kite-surfing things people use.
It's a hell of a lot easier to paint out a wire and a vehicle than it is to put in a synthetic flying dude. and that would get you the helmet-cam footage without having to do extra work.
Also there's tire tracks on the ground from previous takes.
edit: for example:
It might not even be the wings providing the lift, he could have a whole chute behind it like in these videos.
Look at the left tip on the mechanism as it moves slowly as the woman holds it.
I know it's supposed to be light, but it appears to jitter as if it's massless.
The lighting on the mecanism doesn't seem so right either. This looks a little like the early Star Wars' to me.
My money is on this being done with wires and some basic rotoscoping, not CGI. Everything fits.
Notice the camera pans down as it transitions to what is clearly an animation.
As comparison, a human-powered articulated wing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E77j1imdhQ A non-articulated wing http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1638710914506519616 (18km) And the famous Gossamer Albatross flew from England to France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossamer_Albatross
To the downvoters: haters gonna hate, hackers gonna hack
Now that I've actually watched the video, there's something I'd like to add to the list of red flags others have already pointed out: His landing trajectory. It's way too steep and forward. He'd have to enjoy a near 1:1 thrust ratio to land at that angle, and he'd have to have been pitched up and back to apply all of that thrust against gravity and his forward motion.
The grass in the second one (suspected CGI) isn't even the same color or saturation level.
It seems fake to me, but I have yet to be convinced there's CGI. If it were CGI, within 2-3 hours someone will post a statistical analysis of the images. That would be extremely obvious, whereas most people in this thread are pointing out things that are ambiguous.
I mean they if they got the trees, the shadows, and the grass right, then I have a hard time believing they forgot to remove a dot somewhere on the wing. Those aren't the kinds of mistakes you would expect if someone was trying to match CGI to real footage.
There are many more details on his blog http://www.humanbirdwings.net/project-timeline/
Edit: JoeCortopassi raised some good points in his comment. I'm not so sure this is plausible, even with the 4 motors.
You can see a pic of said motors here: http://www.humanbirdwings.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Tim...
If you've identified a noise problem in the signal -- the only possible reason to go directly after another commenter and expect that you're improving HN at all -- how does spamming yet more about the noise problem improve the situation for anybody?
Thanks for reminding me why I don't contribute to HN, by the way. I'll show myself back out.
The guys reaction at the end of the video is not one of triumph and excitement. Here are some videos of what real reactions look like:
First time skydiving:
Breaking a world record:
*Edit - Fixed last link
So all that to say, everyone handles events differently and it's hard to have a set guideline for how people act.
I'm not saying it's a real video but everyone's reaction is different towards any event. I don't think this can be counted as proof against the 'realness' of the video.
http://gawker.com/5539222/how-not-to-fall-for-a-viral-market... (Yes it's Gawker but they did have one of the better write-ups :/ ).
A few minutes browsing the project homepage (http://www.humanbirdwings.net) and WHOIS (http://whois.net/whois/humanbirdwings.net) makes it look more legit though...
The first person to really fly like this may well be a double amputee or other person generally thought of as "disabled". Someone like Bob Wieland would have an enormous advantage on paper over someone like the guy in the video.
Edit: OK at 0:23 you catch a glimpse of someone by the lake that might be in position for that shot.
Hint: It's fake.
The fact that they haven't makes me think it's fake.
I wish it were real though.
Yes the dream of human flight is alive - but it looks like this - http://vimeo.com/20775072
1. GoPro-camera viral ad... 20%
2. funny joke... 10%
3. this is real ... 70%
damn... the track record of incredible, but fake videos in the recent past makes me feel skeptical, but I wish it was real
btw 0:57 the tracks on the grass.. look suspicious ;)
Why does it add up to 115%? Because apparently basic physics is bullshit so why not math?
I am sure since we are only 10 days away from April 1st, that will be the reveal.
There is simply not enough surface area, not enough motor power and not enough battery power for it to be real.
The only part that really ruins it for me is, where is the battery powering the electric motors?
I mean, since I am ignorant about aerodynamics and a bunch of stuff, I can suspend my disbelief about the wing actually providing enough lift, and suppose that there exist incredibly powerful motors that could operate in that way.
I would even like to believe that there is an ultrapowerful battery that would be able to provide enough juice for these incredible motors. But where is it?
Man I hope Mythbusters does this one!
Look at your laptop battery, they are around 50Wh which should be able to provide 2kW for almost 2 minutes, disregarding the maximum current it can pump out.
This is what makes me doubt if it really is fake or not. "Why has nobody done this before"? Because light weight power storage and motors has not been available until now. But the videos smell CG so I'm still calling fake on this one.
I can't find any reliable mention of Jarno Smeets on the web before May 2011.
His blog, his domain, his Twitter and YouTube accounts all seem to have started about June of last year.
His Linkedin lists some plausible employment for a mechanical engineer, but comparing his userid to mine, that account hasn't been around too long either.
The Biomechanics professor he interviews in the video seems legit: http://www.kalons.nl/otten/ http://www.rug.nl/corporate/nieuws/opinie/2011/opinie29_2011... But the professor only speaks in general terms about the requirements for flight and is never seen again in the building or the testing videos.
Perhaps someone could check his Facebook. Does FB say when he signed up for that?
None of this is completely incriminating of course but sadly it does fit the pattern of an ad agency project.
I also see a bit of CGI in his legs when he is shown to be flapping in the air.
This one seems to be much better however when he lifts his legs you can see it's too smooth.
Closeup of backpack here:
But now I don't see any motors.
Now I have a new problem. Someone else mentioned this: watch how the leaves on the ground change at 1:50 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0tKFOcHyrI
I think our friend may have damaged the wing, patched it, and the cut there is them trying to edit out a fuckup launch attempt.
(Not for any logical reasons, but the video just looks fake!)
The article insinuates this is human powered flight.
Any realistic attempt at a solely human powered flying machine would utilize leg power, not arms which pale in comparison in terms of power output.
Also seems a bit fishy a buzzing sound, much like that of an engine, starts the same time as the wing flapping.
Interesting engineering feat but definitely not the holy grail of man powered flight. This is Turnigy powered flight, big deal.
"The design is based on mechanics used in robotic prosthetics."
a) he planned to make only 14 videos in advance - culminating in the flight video
b) he went back and edited all of the titles.
So I checked the cached version of the previous videos - and it does appear that it is (b) - he edited all the titles adding the 14 after the fact.
I'd be amazed if this is real, because it would be far easier to fake than to really pull off.
This makes me wonder what Leonardo da Vinci could've accomplished given some base robotics technology to work off of.
Give it a couple of years and those distracting-from-transition tricks probably won't be necessary any more. Then what?
Probably, we won't believe anything.
- There is not point in that, images don't have value as evidence anymore, it'd just end up as an entertaining image that came from an unknown source at an opportune time.
(from "Ghost in the Shell")
If this is an attempt at viral marketing, it's worth remembering how many people got pissed at the shoe company that commissioned the Liquid Mountaineering ad - Hi-Tec I think it was.
Edit: If you watch his previous video, at 1:53 here you can clearly see the leaves changing as it blurs and cuts to another shot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0tKFOcHyrI&t=1m50s Debating this is a waste of time, it's another hoax.
That was clearly a platform just under the surface of the water. The actual footage was genuine, they just weren't doing what they claimed to be doing, whereas this certainly looks to be a total fake job.
Stage magic vs cut-rate Michael Bay
It's oh so convenient that the cameraman "happens" to look down and the camera happens to blur (what is it refocusing on?) between the time when the wings are resting on the ground and when they are picked up and ready for the test flight. Then the camera is conveniently moving and keeping things just a tad blurry while the wings start up. If you compare the appearance of the wings before and after the cut you'll notice some slight differences.
You tell me, does this look real or fake? http://i.imgur.com/YtPMI.png
From the video it is also obvious that there is no way someone could have stuck that there in the time it took for the camera to turn away and back again.
They really do act just like that. The camera person stops to video and everybody runs in front of him. The camera person needs to change position quickly so you tape the grass whirling for a few seconds.