Forget steroids, the running jetpack is here. Arizona State engineering student Jason Kerestes is working on a project called 4MM. (4MM stands for 4-minute mile–the gold standard for milers.) Sure, strapping a jetpack to your back in the starting blocks will definitely get you disqualified at the Olympics for the foreseeable future. But if you’re a soldier who needs to traverse some tough terrain fast in, say, Afghanistan, there’s no law against a little jetpack assistance.
Kerestes and his colleagues haven’t yet made it possible for Frank the Tank to run a sub-4-minute mile–that’s still largely the province of elite athletes. But give them time. Arizona State has a program called iProjects that umbrellas all sorts of innovative engineering quests like 4MM. According to CNET, the 4MM project was initially funded by the US Defense Department and DARPA. Given that pedigree, we have to root them on. DARPA laid the groundwork for the Internet as a restricted-use communications network–and now we can all use it. If Kerestes does well, maybe we can all run like Roger Bannister.