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PREVIEW: AIRSPEEDER FLYING CAR EVENT, 2023

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Lexi Janson with Airspeeder Flying Car

“Auto Racing Began 5 minutes after the second car was built” – Henry Ford. 

Our fascination with flying cars has been developing since 1917 when an aircraft designer – Glenn Curtiss, built his Autoplane, only 9 years after the invention of model T Ford. 

References from childhood cartoons, Hollywood movies, and Sci-Fi books. have flooded our thoughts with the dream of an exciting future. Can you imagine being able to hop into our own private Flying car and jet set to the office? Pardon the pun. 

But the team at Airspeeder weren’t the ones to wait around. They took this idea one step further: Closer to Star Wars Pod Racing. Have you ever imagined a world where cars race in the sky? Well, that future may be closer than you think. Thanks to the advent of Airspeeder, the possibilities for flying car racing have become a reality – with the EXA Series.

What is the EXA Series

To be held in the deserts of Adelaide, Australia, this December, the EXA Series is the third consecutive event to be held by Airspeeder that will showcase their racing aircraft – MK3, along with athletes, who will compete for the title of champion.

What sets the EXA Series apart is its cutting-edge technology and unparalleled performance. These sleek and aerodynamic flying cars are equipped with state-of-the-art electric propulsion systems, enabling them to achieve mind-boggling speeds and manoeuvrability. 

But the EXA Series is not just about speed and agility; it’s also about safety and sustainability. With a strong focus on safety engineering, the EXA Series features Virtual Reality tracks, and redundant flight controls to ensure the well-being of both pilots and spectators. Additionally, the series promotes sustainability by utilising innovative energy-efficient technologies and exploring eco-friendly fuel alternatives.

The Pilots use FPV (First Person View) technology known as FPV Drone Racing together with the Virtual Reality Racing system, allowing EXA Series to take place anywhere in the world.

How Does A Race Work

The Pilots start the race with a training session, where each pilot can use their allocated time on tests and track training. After the training has been completed – the qualification run starts. This time, pilots fight the clock. Each one of the pilots flies alone and aims to get the fastest time possible per lap. A race director then notes down the best lap. 

After all of the pilots have finished their qualifications – the times are being compared, and the race director presents them with the starting grid for the race. Just like in Formula 1, the fastest pilot takes the pole position. 

During the race, all of the pilots fly at the same time, starting from their designated spots. Each pilot wants to win, so the logistics and plans make a huge difference. Nerves and adrenaline may take over, causing pilots to lose control of their position in the race. Overtaking from the sides, but also from below and above, adds to the stress and excitement. 

Due to the battery lifespan, there is one pitstop break allowed. During the pitstop – pilots land the aircraft in the pitstop area while their crew exchanges the batteries before they can continue to race. Therefore, the pilots must monitor their battery status and make an informed choice at the time of the pitstop.

How Fast Will the Flying Cars Travel

MK3 can fly with a speed of up to 200km/h (124 miles/h) on a straight line. Since the pilots are competing on a race track – those speeds may vary, but the race still looks exciting with the sheer size of the aircraft. The sound that the MK3 makes adds to the experience with the deep buzz. 

Who will be Piloting the Flying Cars

This year, the EXA Series will feature 3 pilots flying at once. The selected three have been trained by Airspeeder on the MK3 and have been involved in the EXA series for an extended period of time. The licensing of the pilots is a long process, and therefore, only the selected few can currently take part in it. This year’s roster presents:

Zephatali Walsh

Zeph (@zephatalien) is an Australian-born FPV Drone Racing Pilot affiliated with Raiden Racing in DCL and an Airspeeder Pilot who has already been on the podium, securing first place during the race in 2022. 

Lexie Janson

Lexie (@maionhigh) is a Polish-born, Irish-raised FPV Drone Racing Pilot affiliated with the Mach1 team in DCL and a Content Creator connected with Airspeeder since 2022. During the 2022 EXA Series race, finished second.

Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna (@brunosennaofficial) is a Brazilian professional racing driver and an ex-Formula 1 Driver—a nephew to the late Ayrton Senna. Currently living in Monaco as a test driver for McLaren. He has been an Airspeeder pilot since 2022, although he has not had a chance to fly during the last EXA series race due to his licensing timeline.

FuturePlay and Lexie Janson 

FuturePlay is proud to announce a sponsorship collaboration with Lexie Janson as she takes to the air this December. Not only will Lexie help FuturePlay cover the event in Adelaide by taking you right into the action over the course of the event, but our collaboration with Lexie will also extend well past this event and into further Flying Car, FPV Drone Racing and Machina Sports events.  

Follow us on Social Media and our YouTube channel as Lexie leads our content program, including interviews with Machina sports men and women, event showcases and demonstrations as we drive first-hand the pursuit of Machina Sports to mainstream audiences. 

  • EXA Series Flying Car Take Off

  • Lexie Janson - World's First Flying Car Racer

  • Lexi Janson with Airspeeder Flying Car

  • EXA Series Flying Car Take Off
  • Lexie Janson - World's First Flying Car Racer
  • Lexi Janson with Airspeeder Flying Car

Sport Enthusiast, Builder of brands, and proud founder of Machina Sports, dedicated to pioneering the fusion of human athleticism with cutting-edge technology. Committed to creating a global platform and brand that celebrates the excitement and innovation inherent in Machina Sports while engaging a diverse community of enthusiasts and athletes worldwide.

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Machina Sports

Nadia the Boxing Robot Is Ready to Rumble!

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Robot boxing

Nadia is the brainchild of IHMC Robotics and Boardwalk Robotics. This robot sounds more like a gymnast than a boxer, but names can be deceiving. The carbon fiber humanoid robot can throw a mean right hand, and her jab isn’t too bad either. While we won’t see her in the ring anytime soon, Nadia reveals just how quickly the athletic abilities of robots are progressing.  

IHMC Robotics released a video in which Nadia hits pads held by the robot’s human trainer. Nadia shows an impressive range of strikes. She appears to have the basics down, throwing jabs, crosses, and even looping hooks. However, the punches lack power and speed. Nadia can’t bust a grape as boxing trainers like to say.

The humanoid robot is not autonomous. Nadia needs some human help to throw punches. Engineers throw on a pair of VR goggles and start punching the air. These movements are then sent to Nadia via a tether.

Nadia is Real Steel Come to Life 

In the 2011 box office smash hit starring Hugh Jackman, Real Steel, human boxers have been replaced by robots. However, humans still play a role as they coordinate the robot’s in-ring movements via hand-held control. While the robots are capable of incredible feats of athleticism and can easily crush human boxers, they still rely on humans to control their punches, head movements, and footwork.

In the final fight, Atom is taken over in shadow mode, where, just like Nadia, the robot starts mimicking the movements of the human controller. Due to the rise of VR technology, this new humanoid robot from IHMC Robotics could form the basis for a whole new sport, like in Real Steal.

We’d love to see a humanoid boxing league come to life. It’d be the perfect blend of human athleticism and engineering. The human controller would still have to demonstrate coordination as he evades incoming shots while landing powerful blows on the opposing robot. However, instead of genetics and training determining a boxer’s athletic ability, roboticists could give their fighter the edge through superior design.

This Robot Is Not Just a Boxer

While Nadia may have gone viral for hitting pads and throwing hooks, this humanoid robot is more than a pugilist. This IHMC Robotics-designed robot has 29 joints and incredible dexterity. In fact, Boardwalk Robotics said it has the highest range of motion of any humanoid robot in the world.

This enhanced dexterity allows Nadia to reach places that other humanoid robots can only dream of. This robot can navigate ladders and move around natural obstacles like boulders. This impressive range of motion is thanks to innovative mechanisms and unique composite materials. Boardwalk Robotics says Nadia’s muscles have a superior power to weight ratio to humans.

Nadia is a hybrid-designed robot powered by electric and hydraulic components. The team has incorporated Moog’s Integrated Smart Actuators (ISAs) into the robot’s design, while purpose-built electric motors are the source of Nadia’s impressive mobility and speed. Boardwalk Robotics and IHMC Robotics went a little more low-tech for the arms, which are powered by off-the-shelf commercial motors, lowering the robot’s production cost.

The robot is also equipped with sensors that act as its eyes. In the future, the team hopes to turn Nadia into an autonomous robot that can handle both indoor and outdoor environments without human intervention.

Nadia boasts incredibly low latency with virtually no delay, making it suitable for a range of physical tasks. Via VR, a human operator can perform jobs in real time. IHMC Robotics plans to add arms to Nadia and train her to complete everything from manufacturing jobs to firefighting, explosive ordnance disposal, and search and rescue. Basically, if a job is too difficult for humans, this robot can take over.

This humanoid robot is well on its way to becoming a bonafide superhero. IHMC Robotics released another robot, this time outside of the boxing ring. It showed Nadia moving with ease through complex terrain and even hopping onto and off concrete brick hurdles.

Humanoid robots like Nadia are advancing quickly. They’ll be competing in sports one day and evacuating people from burning buildings the next. And whatever you do, don’t get on their bad side because they throw a mean right cross!

Read more: H1 Robot Is Now Faster Than Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, Reaching 7.38 Mph

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Drone

Teacher Turned FPV Drone Racing Pilot: FuturePlay Exclusive with Mako Reactra

Explore how Ryan Lessard, also known as Mako Reactra, balances her career as a teacher with her passion for FPV drone racing. Learn about her journey into the world of FPV drones, her training regimen, and how she integrates technology into education.

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FuturePlay Custom - Interview with Mako Reactra

Long gone are the times where teachers were just “teaching” what they were hired to teach. An US teacher – Ryan Lessard aka Mako Reactra has been recently nominated by her school as a research organizer about the AI. But before get into Mako’s journey into FPV Drone Racing. What are FPV Drones? Learn more about it here!

Transition from Teaching to FPV Drone Racing

Mako’s foray into FPV drone racing traces back to the end of 2017 she got a chance to see how FPV Drones (Tiny whoops to be precise) look like and fly – she was hooked. The transition from indoor flying with Tiny Whoops to mastering the complexities of five-inch drones as the snow thawed marked the beginning of what would become a remarkable racing career. She recalls, “I immediately got into racing…and I’ve been racing ever since.” Her journey has seen her compete in numerous MultiGP championship races and represent the United States at the World Games in 2022, not to mention racing with the Drone Champions League (DCL) team, Makoane.

Despite the demands of the racing circuit, Mako’s love for flying spans across different styles. From freestyling to long-range flying and back to Tiny Whoops, the diversity of her flight experiences enriches her racing technique and strategic understanding of FPV drones.

The Passion to Teach: Beyond the Racing Track

What sets Ryan apart from many other pilots is the fact that she is not doing it all for herself – She also does it for her students. As a teacher and educator Mako is leveraging her passion to technology in the classrooms and schools. Her students and fellow educators appreciate her work in both industries, as she tries to juggle all of the responsibilities connected with them.

“So I’m very busy, but it’s a good busy. It’s fun,” Ryan states.

Training Thyself: The Quest for Improvement

But obviously – being an FPV Drone Racing pilot is not just showing up to a race – it does involve training and Ryan is blessed with a big backyard. In the interview with FuturePlay, Host – Lexie Janson – Ryan elaborates on the nature of her training regimen involving real-life practice and simulator practice.

“I try to fly between six to ten [packs] when I have a good amount of time,”

Ryan shares, highlighting the disciplined approach to her practice sessions. Moreover, her role as an educator overlaps with her training philosophy, as she often incorporates educational elements into her preparation, aiming to bridge the gap between technology and intuitive skill.

Do you want to know more?

Check out the full interview with Ryan on the FuturePlay YouTube channel and learn more about FPV Drone racing careers that are available now!

Read More: Issa Kalfon – World’s Jet Pack Racing Champion

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Jetpack Racing

How Issa Kalfon became the World’s First Jet Suit Racing Champion

Learn how Issa Kalfon emerged as the inaugural Jet Suit Racing Champion, his journey with Gravity Industries, and the rigorous training regimen that propelled him to victory. FuturePlay Exclusive.

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Issa Kalfon Dubai Jet Pack Racing Winner

I think we all know who is Iron Man. Generally, a normal person, that uses technology to do things none of us can even dreamt of. While Iron Man Suit still remains a piece of fiction – a Jet Suit or Jet Pack is not fiction anymore – in fact Jet Pack or Jet Suit racing has become a reality now.

The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.

Juma Ikangaa

While Gravity Industries continues to shocks us with their technology and Jet powered jetpacks – they recently exceeded their own benchmarks by hosting a first in the world jet suit race that occurred on the February 28th in Dubai.

If you want to see the full race – there’s a vlog on our FuturePlay YouTube channel.

Eight Pilots were in contention for the title of the world’s first jet Suit Racing Champion and after an extremely exciting fight – the title landed with Issa Kalfon.

But how did Issa become one of the 8 pilots chosen for this race and what did he have to do to become the best of them?

The Leap into Jet Suit Racing

Issa’s story with Gravity Industries starts in the gym (out of all places), where he got contacted by the owner of Gravity – Richard Browling. Richard was reaching out to gymnasts and athletes that had a well-developed core strength and control over their bodies, therefore gymnasts seemed like the best choice. Issa was one of the people, who answered the call and never regretted it. But it wasn’t merely his past that prepared him for this new challenge; it was his unwavering belief in a vision, a dream that jet suit racing could one day mesmerize the world as much as it did him.

I think this is a good lesson for us all – if we get some interesting emails about technology we have never seen before – we should reply.

Training for the Uncharted

Training for a sport as innovative and risky as jet suit racing requires more than just physical endurance; it demands courage, innovation, and meticulous planning. Issa’s regimen leading up to the historic race was as much about pushing physical limits as it was about strategizing for safety and performance. Hours were spent in the sauna, cutting weight and enhancing fitness, while flight training sessions focused on minimizing risks – Issa focused on speed and precision of movement.

In the interview with FuturePlay host – Lexie Janson – Issa explains how serious his training has been during the race warm-up. Issa’s training program required him to attend the training in suit, but also to go to the gym after work for 1-2 hour sessions before bed. This has continued for a couple of weeks, but has visibly paid off.

Want to know more?

Check out our in depth write-up about Jetpack Racing.

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