From the dawn of humankind we have been creating technologies to extend our given bodies: a coat to survive in colder climates, a gun to kill at a distance, a car to travel faster. Typically, however, our technological extensions not only amplify but also numb certain aspects of our bodies. Examples? Just think of when you find yourself in a fitness center as you grew too fat from driving a car and not walking.

Arguably, the most desirable technologies are the ones that that take the human condition as a cornerstone. They resonate with our human senses (rather than numb them), feel natural (rather than estranging), empower people (rather than outsource them), and that realize the dreams people have of themselves. For lack of a better word we call them 'humane technologies'.

Now here is an example what might be the most humane technology since the invention of the bicycle. Dutch mechanical-engineer Jarno Smeets dreams of flying like bird. Nothing new really, many people have had this dream for ages. Yet being an engineer and all, the guy is seriously propelling his dream towards a reality.

Using the accelerometers of the WiiMote and a smartphone, Jarnos is building a pair of human birdwings. Although there are still some serious technological hurdles to be taken – the birdwings will have to be semi-human powered as human muscle power isn't sufficient to carry a person up into the air – the results so far are already impressive. Lift us Jarno!

The Haptic Wing mechanism

A sketch of the mechanism


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  • Hey how's it going? My name is Abdool 22 from Dubai.I'm honored to talk with the man who touched every dreamers heart. I want to personally thank you for your effort. i jumped so high when you lefted off the ground n when i saw your expressions afterwards(although i dont understand your language) and was crying from happinness. when i was reading your details and your dream coming to reality, i felt like i was looking at myself. Honestly I also want those wings. I was thinking about doing it myself and I did some research n was disappointed of the negative public opinion. They thought it was impossible and you just shut them the hell up! You're the man! :) So you either help me do mine or sell it to me. :) Please, get back to me ASAP. I'm in a rush and I need your permission to talk to my agents about developing the idea globally but of course under your name. If not, I'd personally love it if u sold me one. I'm not rich or anything but I reach out to my dreams even if it meant loans and that crap. All I want is fly and I'm willing to do what it takes to fly one day like a bird.

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  • Nope, Victoria: this was a hoax, so none will ever be sold nor were any ever made. Oh well!

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  • Do you sell these? I have dreamed of flying all of my life and have attempted making bird wings myself. One pair of mine I flew 1-2 feet off the ground, but I want to fly sky high just like you! Could you sell these! Please!!! You'll be a millionaire! I heard this was a hoax but I'll never believe it, this is real, this is my dream, this is my life!!!! Thanks! Victoria

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  • Hi Gracie - this was a hoax, unfortunately :) Though a very good one!

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  • Omg this is amazing but I got a question can you make more and sell them thanks you rock Gracie;)

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  • Are you going to sell plans, Kits or complete ready to fly aircraft? Thanks Jerry

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  • Seriously, I will be your subject if you need people. I am an absolute avid birdwatcher and I would love to fly like a bird. THEY ARE A MASSIVE PART OF MY EVERYDAY LIFE.

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  • Machtig mooi dit!

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