The Flybar 1200

As a kid, pro skateboarder Andy Macdonald loved to bounce around on a pogo stick. To replicate the fun of boingingly soaring through the air, he decided to create an Xtreme pogo stick specifically for adults. He hooked up with an inventor who had created a rubber thruster that, when stretched to full extension, can produce 100 pounds of thrust. They crammed 12 of these thrusters into a next-generation pogo stick, and thus was born the Flybar 1200 — a device with a simply awesome amount of power. As a writeup on Gizmag notes:

The Flybar 1200 is like a pogo Stick on steroids, and was built to support the weight, strength, and demands of a world-class athlete. Fit co-ordinated humans can jump higher than five feet and people have been known to get nearly 8 feet of air using the aircraft-grade aluminium Flybar.

Eight feet? That’s incredibly cool — but honestly, you’d have to be irretrievably out of your goddamn mind to actually use one of these things. I mean, 1200 pounds of thrust shoving down on a region the size of a silver dollar? I can’t possibly imagine a less stable kinetic system. I headed over to Amazon to look at the customer reviews for the Flybar 1200, figuring I would find a litany of ghastly injuries. Sure enough, here’s a posting by one James Grissom, a father who won a Flybar 1200 in a radio-station draw and gave it to his kids:

About two weeks later I got to spend MANY hours in the Emergency room at the Trauma Center here in Seattle while I listened to my 14 year old son scream in pain as 4 doctors pulled on his leg to try and set the massive Open Fracture (Bones Protruding From The Skin) of his left Tibia and Fibula (Lower Leg) that he received when the Flybar slipped out from under him as he landed on it. It is now 2005 … My son is off his crutches now but still walks with a cane for support and is always in pain by the end of the day. The $3500 worth of Titanium implants will come out soon.

Ow. He let his 14-year-old son ride on that thing?

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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