The U.S. military hasn’t been shy about its desire to use technology to develop a new generation of super soldiers. But here’s one effort that is sure to raise eyebrows: jet packs to make combat troops faster on foot.
The equipment is worn like a backpack as part of Arizona State University’s “4MM” project, according to a new video released by the school. That stands for “four-minute mile,” which researchers want all U.S. service members to be able to do while wearing the jet pack.
“In a warfare-type arena, this could be potentially the difference between life and death,” Jason Kerestes, a research on the project, says in the video. “If you think of a Navy SEAL or an Army soldier that has to get in somewhere quick and do whatever they’ve go to do, but maybe get out of there just as quickly … these devices can really help soldiers to not only accomplish their goals and succeed in their missions, but potentially save human lives as well.”
The video shows test subjects wearing the pack on treadmills, on a running track and on a city street. In some cases, they wear what looks like a motorcycle helmet while doing so.
The project is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Department agency that specializes in futuristic concepts, including sniper bullets that turn in mid-flight, vehicles that can dodge explosions and robots that can fix space satellites.