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VR

Para Parachute

February 17, 2016

VR

Maybe a crazy invention that can change the world.

You need to know two things about Computex. The first is that it is the largest computer tradeshow in all of Asia, where thousands of computer companies, tech reporters, and visitors from all over the world descend onto Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, to show off and see the latest and greatest PC innovations. The second is that getting attention is hard. Really hard. With speakers blaring, pretty girls walking around, and giveaways happening every second, it’s a tough time getting seen.

But there was something at the Cooler Master booth that had people gasping and even screaming.

Skydiving Indoors

The first thing you notice about Para Parachute is the parachute harness attached to a rig that suspends you in mid- air. A virtual reality (VR) headset is placed on your head and you’re suddenly inside a military airplane with it’s rear door wide open. Then you jump…

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Back in real life your entire body is pulled up until it’s parallel to the ground. You leap out of the plane and throw out the parachute. Your body swing forward then jerks up. The harness digs into your skin. Wind whips through your hair. You hear yourself gasp as you look at the city below.

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It’s easy to see why Para Parachute was a crowd favorite. Most people left laughing and smiling. Some were even in tears.

It may be hard to believe, but the idea for Para Parachute was originally rejected.

The team behind Para Parachute, Revresh, was made up of a group of students from the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht in the Netherlands. One of the guys who came up with the idea was Eward Hage. When he presented the idea, the teacher said it was “too complex to do.”

However, Eward was used to teacher disapproval…

The Dreaded Parent Teacher Conference

Eward’s parents sat in front of the teacher. They had been called into the school on account of their child’s behavior.

“I think Eward has a learning disability,” said the teacher.

His parents look at each other.

The teacher continued, “Just the other day I gave him paper to draw on, but he didn’t want it. He wanted the larger paper. He has a hard time following directions and shows no creativity.”

“That’s can’t be true,” said Eward’s mom. They recalled all the inventions Eward had made. There was the stuffed owl that hooted a bird call until he tore it open and reprogrammed it to say his own name. There was also the RC bar he modded to have police lights. He had hacked into the circuit board using nothing but a wet finger. His hair stood on end from the electrical shocks, but as a result, he was able to solder in his own police lights.

“Tell you what,” said Eward’s dad. “Give Eward what he wants and see what he comes up with.”

Eward did come up with something. Two days later he had created a life-sized spacesuit – complete with helmet.

The teacher never again questioned his creativity.

I Still Hated School

“I always hated school,” recalls Eward. “I didn’t think there was much of a challenge. It was more basic knowledge that you learn there. And what I wanted to do was go more deeper with my interests.”

“I also thought differently than other students. For instance, if the teacher told me that 1 + 1 = 2, then I would wonder about all the different calculations I could make to get to 2.”

As an escape, Eward turned to his original love – inventing. He also learned programming. Google and YouTube let him explore as deep as he wanted.

“The internet is great. Search for an answer and you can find it. And if you find it then you can use it. And if you can find it then search for two options that are close to it. And then make come up with your own solutions based on that,” Eward said.

“It wasn’t until college that I meet people who were like me.”

The Motley Crew

A group of Dutch students were sipping on a locally brewed beer called “Golsch” discussing what to do for their school project.

There was Kevin Derkson – the strong programmer popular with the other students. And Sander Brand – the engineer who checked and double checked that everything was running smoothly.

Rounding everybody out was Eward, the hardcore hardware guy, capable of building damn near anything.

They wanted to do a project that was just like them – extreme and reckless.

“Parachute simulator” got thrown around. It stuck. They started working on it. “It didn’t matter if the school approved it or not, we were still gonna make it,” says Eward. “So we got started while waiting for approval. Besides, we only had nine weeks to make it.”

They showed their idea to the teacher…

You guys are crazy. There's no way you can do this.

Someone should have told that teacher about paper spacesuit Eward. Well, actually, someone did. A few days later, the project got pushed through.

“The cost was a lot,” says Eward. “I spent hours searching for the best deals. We made prototypes where we pulled chairs from under people. The first was built for about €900.”

“But it was all worth it,” Eward went on. “Para Parachute was a huge success. Our teacher took one look and gave us an A+. It was amazing.”

Eward and Revresh have been dropping people from planes all over the world – from a Maker Faire in Rome and all the way to Taipei, Taiwan.

The Future

“I want the financials to continue making crazy inventions. I want to become a millionaire so I have the capital to keep inventing. I also want to make something for people with disabilities. It’s a really big thing for me. Maybe an exosuit or give people with disabilities a better experience or helping them cope with their disability. I’m also looking to epilepsy attack. How ppl with VR can maybe recover from it.

“Maybe a crazy invention that can change the world.”

The Bright VR Award for Best Talent, which the boys won in November 2016, might be just the trick for those deep millionare pockets. Keep doing crazy, guys.

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