We looked at 2014's coolest land toys
earlier this month; now we leave the shore in our wake and head out to sea. The year in water toys kicked off in a big way at Boot Düsseldorf 2014
in January and it ran strong the year through. In fact, we'd say the past year saw reveals and market launches of some of the coolest water toys in recent history ... everything from transforming boats, to seven-figure personal submarines to underwater jet packs.
New thought propagates at the speed of light in the digital age, and there was no greater testimony to this than the World Flyboard Cup held in Dubai last weekend. Frankie Zapata conceived the Flyboard in Spring 2011, rapidly prototyped and developed the sub-$10,000 PWC attachment inside a few weeks and last week saw the third
running of the world championship. The 86 competitors were selected via video from 29 countries and our photo essay leaves little doubt as to the expertise that has been achieved in this brand new extreme sport over just three years. Bravo!
Last year's redesign
of the long-awaited Martin Jetpack
was accompanied by plans to begin commercial sales in 2014, starting with emergency response services and individual sales to follow thereafter. The release date for the first responder Jetpack has since been revised to 2016, a prediction bolstered by the fresh announcement of a partnership between Martin Aircraft Company and US company Avwatch to develop air-based, first responder solutions for the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.
Back in 2011, French jet ski champion Franky Zapata launched the Flyboard
, which sent swimmers skyward propelled by a jet of water. Three years on he's put a new spin on the idea, revealing the Hoverboard by ZR. This new extreme-sport lives up to its futuristic namesake and offers riders an experience that sits somewhere between surfing and flyboarding.
Water-based jetpacking originally looked like an insane activity for the extremely rich and bored, but it has gradually gained in popularity. First, we saw the JetLev-Flyer
, then the Flyboard
, and now the X-Jetpack H3X Hydro. More than just a "me too" competitor in the water jetpack market, the H3X offers a few key evolutionary advantages for novices, families and daredevils alike.
It’s almost 2014 and time for a bit of aeronautical reflection as we look back at what records were broken, which new prizes were won, and what new technologies promise us a hypersonic, jet-packed future of aviation and innovation. So let’s have a glance at Gizmag’s pick of the top five aeronautical achievements of 2013.
Who wouldn't like to fly around underwater? You can already sort of do so using devices such as the SeaBob
, although you're still basically just "along for the ride." If SCP Marine Innovations' Underwater Jet Pack reaches production, however, it looks like it should provide an experience much closer to that of being Aquaman.
The Martin Jetpack
being developed by Martin Aircraft Company in New Zealand has undergone a major design overhaul. Reemerging as the P12 prototype, the ducted-fan personal VTOL is fully certified for manned test flights as a Class 1 microlight. The first commercial sales, now expected in mid-2014, will be for first responder applications, such as rescue, fire, and police missions. According to the company, sales to individuals will follow shortly after the initial models are vetted in field use.
While most of us sit around grumbling and demanding to know, “where’s my jetpack?", German Fritz Unger and a group of friends have decided to do something about it. On a shoestring budget they are building their own one-man, jet-propelled wing. Dubbed “Skyflash,” it’s meant to not only emulate the jet wing made famous by Jetman Yves Rossy
, but to go one better by taking off from the ground instead of having to be dropped from an aircraft.
The jetpack is arguably the most game-changing method of transport one could envision using technology available today. However, despite some progress
, a jetpack-powered commute still seems a very long way in the future. Not to be daunted by this, Australian designer Marc Newson has turned his hand to producing a compelling jetpack design concept, dubbed the “Body Jet.”