I think I’ll take the stairs

DARPA - Cannonball DeviceInspired by the human cannonball of circus fame (or some super heroes, perhaps), US defence researchers have patented a device to fire police officers, fire-fighters or special forces to the top of a five-storey building, New Scientist reported earlier this week.

Apparently, the “controllable launcher” device could put a man on the top of a five-storey building in less than two seconds. The invention comprises a launch ramp that would be placed on the ground at an angle of about 80 degrees to the building. A person would then sit in a chair attached to the ramp, and compressed air from a cylinder underneath would shoot the chair up the ramp’s guide rails.

“At the top, the chair would come to an instant halt, leaving the person to fly up and over the edge of the roof, to hopefully land safely on top of the building,” the magazine reveals.

In circuses, the human eyeball is used to estimate the best angle for firing the cannon. But the patent, filed by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), says the ramp’s precise elevation and the chair’s speed of ascent would be calculated by computer.

I think we should start nominating some politicians to test it…

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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