Flying Dutchman is Lying Dutchman in elaborate hoax

A cleverly designed human birdwings hoax has the whole Internet bummed out it's not real.

Birdman is a fake. Bummer.
Birdman is a fake. Bummer. Floris Kaayk

Curse you fake birdman! Just when it seemed like we humans might get to spread our wings and fly, it turns out the whole shebang -- videos, plans, everything -- was part of an elaborate plan/scam/hoax by filmmaker Floris Kaayk.

I wrote earlier in the week about the footage produced by Dutch mechanical engineer Jarno Smeets that looked real, if questionable, and has now been disproved and admitted as a very disappointing hoax. As Kaayk put it on his Web site:

Today, I revealed my latest project on Dutch prime-time TV show 'De wereld draait door.' In the past months I have been working on an exciting fictional online storytelling project called Human Birdwings. To be precise, Human Birdwings was an online adventure and invention story in which fictional character Jarno Smeets developed wings in a do-it-yourself manner. The intention of this project was to share a personal, yet universal, dream about flying like a bird. Technological developments of the last decade gave this fantasy more relevance then ever before. By taking advantage of this technological revolution, I designed a haptic flapping wing-system which in theory would make it possible to fly like a bird.

As far as hoaxes go, this was a good one. I'm more mad that these human birdwings don't actually exist than I am that this was all a giant scam. Thanks for ruining my childhood dreams, Floris Kaayk.

About the author

Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.

 

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