The What If Machine - Jetpacks

For the final episode of this first series of The What If Machine, Cam investigates jetpacks in videogames.

Join the conversation on Twitter at #whatifmachine.

Jetpacks are among the most prevalent of transportation gizmos in video games yet somehow, in real life there is still no sign of us zipping to and from work in one. Why is this? And how close are state-of-the-art prototypes to the jetpacks we see in games?

As ever, I'd love to hear your feedback on the show. With the first season now over, we're taking suggestions for show topics in season two later in the year. Drop all ideas and such in the comments or prod me directly via Twitter @camfrazrob.

If you enjoy the show, then don't forget to visit the YouTube show page and subscribe. That way, you'll be the first to know when The What If Machine returns.

Thanks again for watching and for everyone's kind words. See you next season.

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Discussion

103 comments
questersson
questersson

Great ideas those Jet Packs, and Given time (That seems to be running out) it will happen one day. But not in the Foreseeable Future.

Nibbles37
Nibbles37

I could easily pop up to the store and grab a few things and pop back several times before needing to refuel.Real question is: Does it start with a key? Or can any ol' jackass walk up and steal it while you're inside?

grim0187
grim0187

I would kill for a jetpack!

skipper1993
skipper1993

Another great one Cam, I've really enjoyed this show so far, its really fresh and informative. It is always nice to get a reminder of how close science fact is to the fiction we all love, I can hardly wait for the next series, keep it up man ;)

coldheart32767
coldheart32767

maybe i rather like a time machine or a teleportation device to go somewhere else... hope you can make more videos like this

vikram_basu123
vikram_basu123

E-gods I didn't even imagine there were working models of jetpacks in real life. I thought it was all science fiction but there really are stuff already there. 30 miles is a nice distance. Superbly informative show! Can't wait for the next season :D

d_khan
d_khan

Thought you were about to cancel the entire show, thank God you didn't.

slycatch
slycatch

Good show.. now i have the need of a jetpack.. thanks Cam!!

glez13
glez13

Last episode of the season. ; _  ;

FreeGeo
FreeGeo

you see....... thing about jetpacks, is kinda the same thing about flying cars:

 

THE AVERAGE PERSON IS NOT SMART ENOUGH TO OPERATE THEM.

 

The average person can barely even pay attention while driving a car.  Texting on a jetpack?  Forget about it.  There's no way you can put every car on the road now into the sky without making them self/computer controlled, meaning all you can do is enter a destination and the vehicle does the rest. 

 

But yes I do love this series, it's fun and realistic and takes a practical look at what's involved in these kinds of technologies.  (for the real deal, watch some TED Talks)

ssorrekrab
ssorrekrab

Jetpacks are still cool.  They have a way to go yet but I think it's only a matter of time. The army will get them first (USA or China) but it will happen.

Awesome first series Cam! I look forward to the next one keenly. 

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Jet pack in pilot wings = Dante must die mode for the SNES

artyom570568
artyom570568

Are you kidding me? You cant end the show like that! We want more episodes!

This was the only show on Gamespot that i was actually coming to watch.

hombreg1
hombreg1

how about (in the really far away future) use atomic energy or even antimatter to generate vast ammounts of energy with little weight?

bdous
bdous

Name of the song during the montage .Please 

WillyChong
WillyChong

JETPACK? Why need that when you can teleport or blink in an instant, save energy, save cost in the long run and does not pollute, c'mon that's gonna be better than jetpack!

broost1
broost1

havent yet played a decent "sustained flight" jet pack game.  all i know is flight sections of transformers war for cybertron were awesome and someone really, really needs to make a game where that kind of seamless flight to fight mechanics make it into a full game! i know that wasn't a jet pack game but for humanoid fleshy beings could be done? i guess dark void tried it but failed a bit, but its still an awesome gameplay blueprint so please someone nail it...for me!?x      

p.s. cool vid

icebox53
icebox53

Nice episode!I wish i could have those winged jetpacks and be the jetman for a day... i have really enjoyed the series keep up the good work!

brok
brok

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for jetpacks in games, it's just that if Liero and Just Cause 2 have anything to show, it's that grappling hooks are even cooler than jetpacks in games, and you don't see grappling hooks getting any love, do you?

ZachBobBob
ZachBobBob

Cool episode :D But really I'm only here to say:BLUFFER'S GUIDE IS BACK!!  *ahem* ...I mean escape from mount stupid. 

SmallMafia
SmallMafia

I wish my science classes were as cool as this! School sucked - this is awesome!

itchyflop
itchyflop

ahahaha! that was awesome ! thanks

optimuserik
optimuserik

I'd prefer a permanent  mid spring ... with occasional snow and Santa .  It's so nice ... not too hot nor cold .

And  a pet Dragon would be better than a mammoth .

eddyoshi
eddyoshi

A great end to an awesome new series. Hope to see more in the future

Flinet91
Flinet91

love the show! Keep up the good work!

gamer-55
gamer-55

The name of the game is energy density.  What's really holding back modern jetpack and rocket-propelled modes of transportation is that we can't make a fuel that has enough energy per unit of weight to achieve that kind of flight.

 

@UKwildcats14

I'd like to see that as well, though it would ultimately come down to the same problem: we don't have portable power systems with the kind of sustained output required for a military-grade personal laser weapon.  What we can do with real-life lasers is build missile shields, either in land-based installations or on orbiting satellites.

Fastex
Fastex

& now I want a spartan suit too  :(

UKwildcats14
UKwildcats14

For season 2 I would like them to do a bit on laser rifles. How far r we from having them as standard issue in the military. I know they have lasers to cut stuff, make incisions, and carve into metal, but I would like to see laser rifles.

 

jessie82
jessie82

jetman looks cool i know what ill be getting if i ever win the lottery

 

the zapata sky thing is quite cool too

cameronrobinson
cameronrobinson moderator

 @d_khan Thanks! And don't worry, it will be back. And bigger and better too! I got some ambitious plans :)

J4m3sR4n0r72
J4m3sR4n0r72

 @artyom570568

 How many people must I tell that in the UK a season is refered to as a series? I am from the US and I know that! Do not worry, there are more episodes comming in the future.

Ocard69
Ocard69

 @hombreg1 how would you contain the radiation from an atomic jet pack? It is to near the body for human use. and where would you find the anti-matter for an anti-matter powered suit? you might as well just hold your breath for some kind of telekenetic powered personal flying device.

hombreg1
hombreg1

 @WillyChong you do notice that for teleportation to work, you would have to either use unfathomable ammounts of energy  or twin atoms... besides, is a person the same after teleporting? can organic matter be teleported and still be living? can you teleport and keep your memories?

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

 @UKwildcats14 Yeah! Coz science is ultimately about humans finding fancy new ways to kill each other. I mean, how much cooler would it be for real life soldiers to be able to slaughter one another with lasers rather than just boring old run-of-the-mill bullets?? High five!

cameronrobinson
cameronrobinson moderator

 @J4m3sR4n0r72 Thanks for fighting the good fight for anglo-american language differences. Next time I'll just say 'seasons' :)

Nibbles37
Nibbles37

 @1stormbringer77 Solar panels give off electromagnetic radiation. Which to most people is not much of a problem but some people can be sensitive to it. Also a solar panel's basic component contains pure silicon. Silicon dust is quite harmful to the lungs. Food for thought.

1stormbringer77
1stormbringer77

 @Colekern I can see you don't understand the comment I made. With Solar powers THERE ISN'T ANY RADIATION! DUH!!!Unless you wanna count what the Sun gives us naturally.

1stormbringer77
1stormbringer77

 @Colekern How about some Solar Powered Anti-Gravity jet packs?You won't have to worry about Radiation burns or sterility.

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

 @grim0187 Oh, I'm swayed by the strength of your well thought out and rational argument.