Richard Browning (inventor)

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Richard Browning
Born (1979-01-22) 22 January 1979 (age 39)
Nationality British
Occupation Inventor
Years active 2017-present

Richard Browning is an English inventor, entrepreneur and speaker. He founded Gravity Industries Ltd in March 2017, the company behind the "Daedalus Mark 1", a flight suit that uses six miniature jet engines to achieve vertical flight. The kerosene engines are rated at 22 kg of thrust each.[1] Browning uses his arms to control the direction and speed of the flight, while a display inside the helmet gives updates on fuel consumption and other usage data.[2] He achieved a speed of 32.02 miles per hour (51.53 km/h) with the suit during a Guinness World Records attempt for ‘Fastest speed in a body controlled jet engine powered suit’.[3]

Browning has been dubbed the 'real-life Iron Man' by media outlets around the world.[4][5][6]

Browning is an ultra-marathon runner and former Royal Marine Reservist.[7] He cycles to work and uses an exercise regime to drop his body weight from 75 to 72 kg.[1] He was inspired by his father, an aeronautical engineer and inventor, who killed himself when Browning was a teenager.[8]

Daedalus Mk. 1 suit[edit]

Concept[edit]

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Browning said '[his] approach to flight was [to] augment the human mind and body, because they are amazing machines, so I just bolted on what was missing - thrust."[2]

Browning has said the Daedalus Mk. 1 could "reach up to speeds of 200 mph" and "can fly for 10 consecutive minutes at a few thousand feet",[9] but that he keeps the speed and altitude low for safety reasons at present.[10] He repeated this in an interview with Sky News' tech programme 'Swipe' before a live flight demonstration.[11]

Browning's eight-year-old son named the suit.[12]

Development[edit]

Throughout 2016 Browning and a small team designed, built, redesigned and rebuilt Gravity's prototype flight suit, testing, developing and reiterating for a year before filing patents for the technology and launching the business.[13] The suit took 15 months to develop.[14]

The Daedalus Mk. 1 suit incorporates the following technologies:

  • Six ECU kerosene microturbines, including two on each arm: automated with the best-in-class power-to-weight ratio
  • HUD system: the Sony SmartEyeglass Developer Edition (912-1099) provides fuel and engine status on a heads-up display (HUD) system.
  • Wi-Fi data linkage: live streaming from the Daedalus suit to ground monitoring and the HUD system.
  • Fuel air detection: utilising medical bubble detectors to provide a fail-safe fuel alert.
  • Graphene composites: using composite materials to reduce the weight of the suit.
  • Airbag system: working on an auto-inflate impact protection system (based on motorcycle airbags).

The six jet engines produce 130 kilograms (or 286 pound-force) of thrust.[15]

During a filmed interview with Reuters, Richard reached speeds of 30 mph, breaking his own flight speed record.[16]

Richard estimates the suit cost £100,000 in materials, with production costs based on man hours spent at "well over a million".[14]

Live flights[edit]

Besides a number of recorded flights for the media, Browning has flown live for broadcasters and publications including the BBC's The One Show,[17] Sky News[18] and Wired.[19]

He has flown live at events including at TED's annual conference in Vancouver in April 2017,[20] Berlin's CUBE Connects,[21] in front of 'hundreds' of Red Bull executives at a team getaway in Nice, France[22] and TEDx Glasgow.[23]

Richard Browning also completed a pre-recorded flight in the first episode of Series 10 in Robot Wars, and explained the purpose and practicality of his suit to the viewing audience.

Gravity[edit]

Gravity describes itself as a "human propulsion technology start-up," whose mission "is to re-imagine the future of manned flight."[9][24]

Due to the nature of each suit needing to be made for each user, Richard has said that Gravity will sell personalised suits for £250,000.[25]

Speaking about the future of the company in April 2017, Browning said,

"Our beta suit, the Daedalus, could go into mass production next week; however we are spending the next 3-6 months extensively improving and updating everything. We see Q4 2017 as the point where we have a world class market leading technology, which has endless applications in commercial, military and entertainment market. It's not just the suit in its current form that we will commercialize, but the technology behind it: brands who want to be part of the hundreds of millions of people who will want to see it in action and experience its development."[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b https://www.wired.co.uk/article/real-life-iron-man-richard-browning
  2. ^ a b "British military interested in 'Iron Man' flying suit". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  3. ^ https://www.yahoo.com/news/apos-iron-man-apos-just-111353110.html
  4. ^ Manthorpe, Rowland. "The real-life Iron Man: watch inventor Richard Browning 'fly' in his jet-powered suit". WIRED UK. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  5. ^ Gibbs, Samuel (2017-04-28). "Britain's Iron Man: inventor takes flight in jet-powered suit". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  6. ^ "Daedalus is an insane, real-life flying Iron Man suit". CNET. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  7. ^ "Ex-Royal Marine Flies 'Real Life Iron Man' Suit". Forces Network. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  8. ^ Wakefield, Jane (2017-04-28). "TED 2017: UK 'Iron Man' demonstrates flying suit". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  9. ^ a b "Iron Man is real: British inventor builds flight suit". Fox News. 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  10. ^ "An Inventor Just Flew in a Real Life Iron Man Suit". Futurism. 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  11. ^ "Swipe: Tudor haunts and jet suits". Sky News. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  12. ^ "WATCH: Real-Life Tony Stark Demonstrates His Iron Man Suit". CBR. 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  13. ^ "Gravity: The human propulsion flight suit". www.rs-online.com. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  14. ^ a b "Inventor defies gravity in jet engine-powered flying suit". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  15. ^ "IRON MAN Jetpack Suit Uses Mini Jet Engines for (Very Frightening) Flight | Nerdist". Nerdist. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  16. ^ Britain's "Iron Man" breaks his own jet-suit speed..., retrieved 2017-06-05
  17. ^ "Gravity Industries". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  18. ^ "Sky News". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  19. ^ "WIRED UK". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  20. ^ "U.K.'s 'Iron Man' demos flight suit at TED conference in Vancouver". Global News. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  21. ^ "Gravity Industries". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  22. ^ Gravity (2017-05-10). "Today we surprised hundreds of unsuspecting @redbull execs on their super yacht team getaway in Nice, France!pic.twitter.com/PDMPnv8MpW". @takeonGravity. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  23. ^ "Inventor demonstrates 'Iron Man' flying suit in Glasgow". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  24. ^ "gravity home". www.gravity.co. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  25. ^ a b "This £250,000 flight suit will turn you into a real life Iron Man". Fox News. 2017-04-03. Retrieved 2017-06-05.