Before leaving home for San Francisco by airplane I cited Louis C.K.’s routine about the (forgotten) joy of “partaking the miracle of human flight.” Yet I couldn’t imagine that at the Science Foo 2014 I would have encountered someone that actually had partaken the experience more than anyone else!

I met Todd Reichert at Googleplex because our exhibits were very close and he explained me that his dream was to fly simply flapping wings. In order to fulfill such an archetypical desire, with a group of University of Toronto students he designed a Human-Powered Ornithopter – “The Snowbird”.

Tested on 2 August 2010, the contraption enabled him to fly for around 20 seconds, covering approximately 150 meters at 25 km/h – powered solely by the power of his muscles. The video of the impressive performance elicited a number of loud wows! and can be seen here:

Discover the Human-Powered Ornithopter Project clicking here.

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