Personal Transport Technology
Various modes of personal transport that became possible during the Solsys Golden Age
Wing pack Similar to the paracopter a wing pack grants human-form bionts the ability to fly. A standard unit consists of a compact backpack containing a power unit, communicator (for DNI control), body monitor (for non-DNI control) and a pair of highly folded wings. The wings themselves are formed from multiple overlapping plates of ultra-lightweight smart extensible matter that is capable of altering shape for optimum aerodynamics. At full extension wingspan is 7 meters, whilst the wings are no longer than the pack where they connect to it they bulge up to 1.2 metres along their length.
The wings allow for a sophont to glide but are incapable of allowing a sophont to take off in a standard 1g, 1 atmosphere environment. For take off the plates of the wings flex away from each other revealing fancloth which draws from the packs power unit to lift the sophont to a desired height. From this point the plates rejoin and allow for gliding, exposing fancloth only when extra height is needed. A tail may be included for stability where needed.
More advanced units feature larger power units and fuel canisters for twin jets that extend from the back of the pack. Performance varies by model but with installed jets users can achieve speeds up to 500kmph. Packs capable of these speeds often include deployable helmets and suits to protect the user from wind and low temperature exposure, this is provided at the cost of being bulkier and heavier making walking on the ground difficult without a powered exoframe.
|One popular design of Paracopter, often used for recreational use|
Paracopter The paracopter is a powered alternative to the parachute or parafoil for both safety and personal transportation and recreation. A paracopter unit consists of an expanse of fancloth connected by power/data/control lines to a harness with incorporated power source for the operator. Fancloth consists of a flat, flexible sheet of fabric pieced by innumerable small holes approx. 1.5 mm in diameter, each of which contains a powered fan. About 3 square metres of fancloth is sufficient to lift a human off the ground.
Basic models for safe emergency egress from aerocraft or tall buildings/structures use a few square meters of fancloth. Those for everyday transport or sport are generally two to three times as large and may be constructed of heavier duty cloth which includes added solar cells as well as greater active control of the airflow over the cloth surfaces for increased aerodynamic performance. In all models the cloth possesses a variable degree of rigidity to facilitate proper packing and deployment as well as to enhance maneuverability.
Power Stilts The cause of a short-lived fad in the mid-fifth century A.T., power stilts are stilts with extensible legs, using extensible matter. The trade-offs between low weight and flexibility for ease of movement on the one hand and strength and rigidity to prevent buckling on the other limited maximum height for a skilled user to approximately 100 meters without onboard balance maintenance - though purists held that such aids missed the point. Liability issues ultimately put a damper on official power stilting contests but dedicated stilters continued to test the limits of the technology and their skills up till the time of the Technocalypse.
Tetraskele Rig A locomotive system utilizing four highly flexible, extensible limbs which is capable of climbing and traversing most terrain as well as gripping and manipulating objects. The limbs are connected to a rugged harness that both secures the user and provides a strong base against which the limbs can act during exertion. Generally, each limb has a maximum extension of five meters and ends in three or four sturdy footpads/grippers. Each foot assembly can further be outfitted with a variety of optional attachments or fine manipulators. Onboard ai systems increase ease of use even for those users without dni implants who must operate the rigs manually.
The same basic technology can be seen to varying degrees in a wide variety of bots, vecs and cyborgs.
Text by Terrafamilia, Ryan B (wing pack)
Initially published on 09 November 2005.