Jarno Smeets, the Dutch engineer behind the HumanBirdWings project, has finally taken flight on his homemade, Wiimote-controlled wings.
Smeets took to the air for 100 meters worth of flapping and gliding, captured via a helmet-cam and some friends on the ground. He described the experience as "the best feeling I've ever felt" and "a f*cking magical moment."
The system works by sending accelerometer data from two Wiimotes to an Android smartphone, which controls the flapping of the wings, keeping their movements in sync with the pilot's arm movements.
To perfect his angle of attack for takeoff, Smeets studied the way the albatross launches into flight, which turned out to be ideal for the HumanBirdWings' huge wingspan.
It may be quite some time before the project is even safe -- let alone commercially available -- but Smeets' successful test is still a huge leap, flap and glide toward making winged human flight a real possibility.