Google X, Google’s lab for “moonshot” projects, has tinkered with the idea of a jetpack that’s not a death trap, Google X Head of Moonshots Astro Teller said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference today.
But the lab ultimately had to shelve the idea.
“We try to have our failures as early as possible,” Teller said. In fact, Google X shuts down over 100 projects a year.
It turns out that there is a way to build a jetpack that won’t kill you, Teller said, but the real problem was that it’d be incredibly power inefficient. The jetpack would only be able to travel one quarter of a mile to the gallon, and it’d be as loud as a motorcycle.
“I didn’t think people would be OK with it,” Teller said. “We thought, for now, those were showstoppers.”
The general rule for X projects are that they must address a problem that affects millions of people. All must utilise some radical solution that resembles science fiction, and must tap into technologies that are obtainable.
Google has also tinkered with hoverboards and space elevators, but ultimately decided to shelve the projects.
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