#2719: Loopener

Today’s invention is an ultra low-altitude parachute mechanism, based on one of those circular, expanding reflectors that photographers use.

This could be used by base jumpers (or Mars missions), but more usefully by people trapped in a medium-rise, burning building.

One problem with low-opening chutes is that, if the shock of sudden inflation is too great, it can cause the jumper some injury. That problem can be mitigated using a form of slider.

If the opening is too slow, however, then all this becomes irrelevant.

To get a chute to open very wide and very fast requires that each chute will have a loop of springy glass fibre sewn into the edge.

When someone grabs their emergency chute off a rack, they run and plunge out a window. A static line releases the coiled loop (shown on the left) and the chute is suddenly forced to take up its natural, circular shape (on the right).

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