story, science, technology and creativity

Back to the Future, all in the past

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YouFly_UWA_resizedI’ll admit it. I had a major thing for Michael J. Fox. I still do.

I realised this when rewatching the Back to the Future trilogy (including the third installment, which I’d never seen because of its average preview)(but I really loved it…if you haven’t ventured Back to the Past and you enjoyed the Back to the Futures, give it a go :-)).

Luckily, I had an excuse for watching MJF for six blissful hours. Science writing!

That’s right. I was on assignment, so that’s why I had to watch.

BTTFIIdateI was working on a story about flying cars to celebrate Back To The Future day: Wednesday 21 October 2015.

The date that Marty and the Doc fly forward to in BTTF II.

Which was, (ahem), last week, actually.

I wrote the story for ScienceNetwork WA, looking at a Perth company with their own version of Doc Brown’s DeLorean. It doesn’t time travel, but it does fly. Awesome.

Here’s what you can expect for your future commute:

YouFly is capable of vertical take-off and landing, and operated with just two joysticks—one for height, the other for direction.

“You sit in the middle of a 2m diameter fan, in a nice cockpit,” says developer Kim Schlunke.

“You can’t touch the fan or reach it, and when it starts it becomes transparent, so you can look through it.”

The enclosed fan pumps air from the top to the bottom of the car, generating lift that is controlled by a flexible skirt around the car’s body.

“It’s flown with enough weight to fly a person…it flies around very stably and parks in carparks and things like that.”


Unfortunately, the YouFly has no room for McFly: it’s a one-seater.

Crushing, I know.

Author: cristyburne


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