Followup: Team Atlas Succeeds at Flight

Team Atlas’ Kicktstarter campaign was one of my first posts on this site, and they successfully funded their project. But that was just the beginning – they had to actually build a human-powered helicopter. Just over a year later, they’ve won the Sikorsky Prize! Congratulations to Team Atlas on this amazing feat, now get to work on my jetpack!

Check out the video below:

Neil Stephenson’s CLANG

Neil Stephenson’s an author. He writes obsessively-detailed fiction, sometimes speculative, sometimes historical, most of the time a combination of the two. To complement his current efforts, he’s turned his eye to videogames though. What Neil wants to do is make swordfighting games more realistic, more accurate, and most of all, more fun. His team for CLANG has put together one of the most entertaining Kickstarter videos I’ve seen, which really conveys his humor and the spirit of the game:

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Human Powered Helicopter

The Atlas team has a pretty ambitious goal.

A human-powered helicopter (HPH) on the surface doesn’t sound like it should be such a hard thing, just pedal and spin some blades, right? Of course it’s really a very hard problem, between weight concerns, momentum, and how much energy a human can put out for any extended duration.

The requirements for the Sikorsky Prize, illustrated.

The requirements for the Sikorsky Prize, illustrated.

That’s why, in 1980, the American Helicopter Society created the Sikorsky Prize, an award to motivate engineers to create an HPH capable of hovering for just one minute, at a height of 3 meters from the ground. In over 30 years, no team has yet accomplished that.


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