For centuries man has dreamed of taking to the skies and soaring like a bird. Now, after nearly a year of testing and research, Dutch engineer Jarno Smeets claims he is the first to ever do so. Yep, thanks to a pair of homemade, human-sized bird wings powered by an electronic system incorporating an Android smartphone and Nintendo Wii Controllers Smeets claims he has flown. But is it just a hoax?
The first thing you need to do is watch the video below, if you haven't already.
Okay, now that you've seen that we can get on with the discussion. Obviously, the web is ablaze with claims and comments stating that the video is not real and just some sort of elaborate hoax (check out Gizmodo or The Register). There's no way to tell for sure just by watching the low-res video and Wired has even released an analysis by physicist Rhett Allain that suggests it could be real. However, we want to know what you think of the controversial Human BirdWings project.
A few things naysayers have been pointing out include the fact that the wings, while flapping vigorously, do not extend straight up during take off like the wings of many birds naturally do. Also, you'll notice that the pilot's legs hang straight down at first, but somehow Smeets is able to just stretch them out like Superman as he pleases. To do that while flapping your arms would be quite a task for the average Joe.
There's also the question of the actual press release. Rather than reaching out to a PR firm, or even the local news, the team behind the Human BirdWings project appear to have written the press release themselves and just posted it to their own website. Considering that an accomplishment such as this would be history in the making, it seems like they would have tried a little harder to get the word out. Also, according to Wired, Smeets has not responded to requests for interviews. Seems a little suspicious to us, what do you guys and gals think?