‘Jetpacks For Weiner Dogs’

                                                                                                               Art Project for Art 511
                                                                                                            Conceptual Information Arts
                                                                                                                Professor Steve Wilson                   



This proposed project called ‘Jetpacks for Weiner dogs,’ is a combination of science, technology and art, and although it has its applications in safety and other logistics, its main intention is art.  I am choosing Weiner dogs (Dotson) solely for the sake of humor, and since jetpack technology is still in its embryonic stage, a lightweight dog is the most plausible contestant.  


The idea, in terms of safety, is that the jetpack would be remote controlled by the dog’s owner, who could lift the dog as it crosses busy streets and have it land safely on the otherside of the street. Or, in the case that the dog takes off to chase a bird or a bear, the owner can lift the dog into the air and have it return to the owner’s feet.

In terms of the Jetpack’s safety, the pack itself would limit the animal from going above 15 feet in the air. Yet, there will be a parachute deployed whenever the engine stops abruptly, similar to airbag technology.

(from Hovertech)

Electrodynamics Propulsion

Take off with a conventional jetpack strapped to your back and you'll have about 60 seconds of airtime. The short duration is due to the low specific impulse of rockets and jets. Alternatively, electrodynamics propulsion delivers a higher specific impulse, but at significantly lower thrust. However, a new device called the Lifter, may offer higher efficiencies than rockets or fans.

The Lifter is a modern recreation of De Seversky's ionocraft which has gained considerable popularity among experimenters in recent years. The lifter's appeal can be traced to three factors: they can be built from common materials like balsa wood and aluminum foil, results are easily reproduced, and they represent the first heavier-than-air craft to fly without moving parts. This last fact led some experimenters to believe they had demonstrated anti-gravity. Vacuum tests by NASA and theMythbusters, however, concluded that the only phenomenon at work is ion wind. To back up this claim, researchers measured the downward blast of air from the lifter with an anemometer and found that it accounted for 100% of the thrust needed to levitate the device. Sorry folks, but no antigravity here.

So even though the lifter is not anti-gravity, it continues to fascinate hobbyists and scientists alike. The lifter works by creating a high electric field between the emitter wire and a collector (made from aluminum foil). When powered by a source of high-voltage DC (typically 15-30kv), the emitter wire produces an ion cloud which draws the collector upwards towards it by the force of electrostatic attraction. When the ions collide with the collector, there is a transfer of charge leaving a neutral downward flow of air.

The lifter has an average thrust loading of .29g/watt. In comparison, a helicopter has an efficiency of about 8.5g/watt or 14lbs/hp. But by using a more effective ionization process, HoverTech believes the lifter's thrust can be increased by as much as 30 times given the same amount of power. This would put the lifter on par with helicopters and ducted fans, but without the noise.

Progress with lifters has been steady. For example, a craft built by Jean-Louis Naudin of JLN Labs was able to levitate a mouse. So are ion-propelled jetpacks next? We'll have a better idea after conducting experiments, but a jetpack that doesn't require flame-resistant underwear could certainly be useful.

Ultimately, my idea is that the jetpack not take up more space than this racing jersey worn by the undefeated champion of Weiner Dog Racing.



Clearly there are unlimited possibilities to what one can do with this, and I think that anyone seeing a Weiner dog, or many Weiner dogs, flying through the air, even if just at head level, is alone my work of art.  However, taking it further, I would like then to have a group of dogs in a theatre performance piece, where the dogs would be dressed up perhaps as angels and would fly out among the audience in the beautific vision of the celestial realm.  

In addition, I would like to see the technology evolve to the point where the dog could control the trajectories of the jetpack, so that perhaps we could one day see dogs who take them selves out to pee, so long as someone leaves a window open.  

A jetpack could also help disabled dogs like this one.


Dotsons and their owners will have to go through training before they can use one.  Dogs may not take well to the skies at first, and so potty training with the jetpack training would be required. Typically training would begin when the dogs were puppies.


If either the dog or the owner are having issues with being aerodynamic, or for aesthetic reasons, it is possible to attach a string to the dog’s jetpack so that the owner can carry the dog as though it were a balloon.   

Addition Links

Dog Race

Consumer Jetpacks


The Dotson