Image courtesy USPTO
DARPA is considering using launching devices to thrust personnel onto the roofs of buildings

Circuses have been amusing crowds by shooting performers out of cannons for a long time. Variations of this can also be found in launchers using elastic cords, trampoline mats and Aircraft seat ejection technology. The problem with these designs is the unpredictable projectile and the lack of control over the launching device.

US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is considering this concept as a way to catapult police, fire and special force officers on top of buildings in a hurry. The device will consist of a ramp with side rails that will seat the person. A cylinder will shoot compressed air from under the seat propelling the seat to the end of the rail. The chair will come to a sudden halt, but the very brave person sitting in the chair will not. The expectation is that the person will fly over the edge of the roof and land safely on top of the building.

The DARPA patent adds that a computer can automatically find the correct angle and the appropriate launch speed. It also claims that with this equipment, the total flight time to reach the top of 5-story building will be less than 2 seconds. For now, I'll stick to the stairs.

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