A few years ago, there was a TV commercial that featured people striding round a city with bizarre bouncy stilts on. The idea was that with innovation and vision, the future could take any shape. At the time, I didn't think they were real. Then I recently discovered Powerizers or Powerbocks – you can not only bounce in them, but you can practically fly. Apparently, these pneumatic walkers are the latest in extreme sport.
Created by Alexander Böck in the early 2000s, Powerbocks were patented as 'a device for facilitating the locomotion of a person by himself or herself by means of a spring system for removable attachment to both legs of the person, which spring system enables the person, by compression and deflection of at least one spring element, to walk on the ground by jumping step by step.' In short, elastic, spring-loaded stilts, or kangaroo boots.
Original Powerbocks (for professional athletes and serious enthusiasts) cost over $1,000, but Powerizers (for hobbyists) are lower in price (around $200). Some places to get hold of them: Powerskip, Flying Jumper, and Powerizerz.
If you've been keeping up with the Olympics, you may have seen the incredible prosthetic limbs worn by South African runner Oscar Pistorius. They look a lot like Powerizers, but toned down to more realistic proportions. The paraplegic athlete almost made it into the regular Olympic Games, but was, at the last minute, told he couldn't compete. Maybe he should invent his own event. I'd watch. RM