Ever since I was a small boy, I was always fascinated with new technology. Whether or not that came in the form of a Commodore 64 home computer or a Sony Walkman, no matter what new and fun gadget came on the market, I wanted to have a play with it. Times may have changed somewhat, but inside, I’m still a kid that wants to try out that new tech! So when Doug Foden, an experienced windsurfer and snowboarder, took to the Chasewater Lake in Staffordshire last week, to test a hand-held electric jet engine device, I naturally wanted to find out what it was all about.
The designer of the new device is 40-year-old engineer Adam Contoret. He has spent two years at his garage in Stoke-on-Trent developing the water-resistant jet engine thrusters. In a statement to the Daily Mail Online he said, ‘When I was about 14, a friend of the family bought us a model aircraft engine – and when my brother and I were testing it, we put it on a wooden board…That planted in my mind the idea of having some sort of stand propulsion for a board sport. Years went by and I did paragliding. I made this little bar with two engines and it worked…So, then I thought let’s make something that you can control the power on. It’s just me – I’m not some big company. I spoke with a patent attorney, and we put some drawings together…It’s still patent pending. I tried it on water quite a while ago using a small bar, but there wasn’t enough power. This is the first time it’s been done on a lake with an expert.’
Dr Contoret, is the founder and director of engineering firm Dreamscience. He said his technology is still in the early stages, because the device only lasts for ten minutes before the batteries fail to provide enough power for it to continue. Currently, the developers are using several battery packs for the testing phase of the device. The hand held engine is also quite heavy for users, but Dr Contoret noted that he expects technology to have improved so much in five years that the device will be approximately half the weight, but double the power.
Dr Contoret added that one of the device’s major benefits is that the air coming out of it is cold, and that it can handle impact with water – but he is working on a fully-waterproof version.
The JET ENGINE ELECTRIC THRUSTER Specs are as follows:
Energy: Converts 30kw electrical energy into a combination of heat and thrust
Efficiency: 78 per cent energy efficiency, compared to 15% in a normal jet engine
Engines: Four with 10hpw, each turning at 30,000rpm
Top speed: 50mph, with 200mph exit wind velocity
Battery life: Ten minutes
Dr Contoret’s goal is to perfect the device, make it fully waterproof and to see it used by a team of athletes in competitive events. According to Dr Contoret, the Jet Engine Electric Thruster is expected to retail from between £3,000 to £6,000.
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[Images via wordlesstech]