The engineering community was abuzz this week after it was announced that a water-powered jetpack will hit the market this summer.
According to CNN, the Jetlev will be available to consumers later this year, and pictures of the product are gaining considerable attention online. The product, which was invented by Candian Raymond Li, has three main components – a lightweight carbon fiber backback, a 10-meter house and an engine unit that floats in the water.
The engine sucks up water through the hose and forces it through two nozzles on the backpack, which creates about 500 pounds of thrust that propels the user up to 30 feet above sea level, according the media outlet. Li has been working on Jetlev for more than a decade, and it has been manufactured by German-based company MS Watersports GmbH.
Americans should not expect to see these packs at many public beaches this summer because they cost about $136,000 per unit. However, several resorts and charter yacht companies have expressed interest in Jetlev. Alexander Theis, the head of marketing at MS WaterSports, told the news provider that the product will appear at the Dubai International Boat Show in March.
The jetpack, along with many other new technologies, are being developed overseas. In his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama issued a challenge to scientists and engineers in America to invent new technologies that will help re-establish the U.S. as the world’s top innovator.
Obama specifically called for inventions associated with clean energy, including solar, nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. In addition, the President said that he is taking the necessary steps to ensure that America will be the first nation to put 1 million advanced technology vehicles on its roads, according to The Wall Street Journal.
To strengthen this science and engineering initiative, Obama has announced that the government will continue to invest in colleges and university. He said that he will continue to strengthen the Pell Grant program and advocate for permanent tax breaks for individuals who are paying for a college education.
Across the U.S., wealthy benefactors are investing in colleges and universities to strengthen their science and engineering departments. For example, A. James Clark – the CEO of Clark Enterprises – recently donated $8 million to George Washington University (GWU) to fund a scholarship program for aspiring engineers.
Clark said that the money will help talented individuals pay for their college tuition and work toward promising careers.