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Vocabulary. Read and check you understand this before you read and listen to the article:
plumber: person who fits and repairs pipes/water systems
unhinged: without movable joints (hinges) or CRAZY!!
blender: an electric mixing machine used in food preparation for chopping or liquidising
contraption: a machine that seems unnecessarily complicated or unsafe
brake: a device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle
feat: an achievement that takes great skill, courage or strength
blades: the flat, wide section of a(n aeroplane) propeller
to mangle something: to damage something severely or destroy
outing:an appearance (usually) in a sporting event or film
stuntman: a person who performs dangerous actions (stunts), typically substituting an actor
stroller (AmE): a chair on wheels for transporting babies…BrE pushchair, buggy, pram, perambulator…
Lincolnshire plumber, garage inventor and YouTuber Colin Furze has built an actual working hover-bike – an “unhinged flying bike/human blender [that] unbelievably gets off the ground and actually FLIES,” as Furze puts it.
Furze’s YouTube video, which shows his attempt at flying the bike, was posted on Thursday and has already been viewed nearly 1.7m times in less than 24 hours.
The self-taught engineer, who features on the Sky 1 program Gadget Geeks, built the contraption in his garage.
It has no brake or seat, but has two accelerators and can be steered. As he says in the video, Furze has no formal engineering qualifications and has never flown before, which makes the feat all the more heart-stopping.
While the flying bike seems to be manoeuvrable, it clearly still has trouble landing. Furze has to use his feet to stop the vehicle, and jump off to avoid being injured by the whirring propeller blades.
The bike has apparently been through a range of different prototypes, which are all featured in the video. Furze repeatedly breaks and mangles several earlier models as he tries to land unsuccessfully.
This isn’t Furze’s first outing as a mad stuntman. He has used his plumbing experience to build many contraptions, including the world’s longest motorbike, the world’s fastest stroller made with turbojet engines and a jet-powered motorcycle made with pulse jet engines.
This latest project was sponsored by Ford as part of the Unlearn campaign which encourages innovation by telling people to try completely new things.
In January, as part of the same campaign, he asked the public to suggest their craziest ideas for new types of transportation and promised to build the winners.
He received 10,000 suggestions in less than 24 hours from Britons, including a heli-helmet, a turbine-powered quadcopter and a hovercraft-helicopter hybrid.
“Let’s chat about that!”
Write your answers in an email and send them to your ECP coach!
- Have you ever invented/created anything? Why/not? If so, can you describe it in English? Was it successful or useful?
- What do you think of Furze’s other inventions?
- Would you like to try his hover-bike? Why/not?
- Can you think of a crazy invention that you would like him to make?
- What’s your opinion about Ford’s Unlearn project? What do you think the company gains from this?