Insert Coin: Atlas human-powered helicopter gunning for elusive Sikorsky prize (video)

In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you'd like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with "Insert Coin" as the subject line.


The AeroVelo group, a team of students and professional engineers, wants its Atlas helicopter to hover for one minute, reaching at least three meters (10 feet) powered by human muscle alone. If the grunt-powered machine succeeds, it'll nab the American Helicopter Society International's $250,000 Sikorsky Prize, which has gone unclaimed since it launched in 1980 -- with the best efforts barely leaving the ground. But the University of Toronto-based team reckons it has the chops, with two PhDs aboard and Snowbird, the first successful human-power ornithopter, under its belt. The Atlas will feature four rotors like a 1994 design from Japan, which flew for 19 seconds, a simple and stable configuration that required less pilot power than other models. The would-be flyers have rustled up more than $27k toward the $30k target with 35 hours left, so if you'd like to help out -- and fulfill the dream of eccentric inventors everywhere -- hit the source link for details.

Previous Project Update: The Aviator Travel Jib sailed way past its $20,000 goal with $48,715 in pledges, getting it fully funded by July 10th -- but you can still kick in to get one.