As the weather warms up it’s finally time to pack away those winter clothes and start figuring out how you’ll maximize the hot summer months. Any activity involving a lake is obviously a good choice, but before you spend thousands on a Jet Ski, you might want to wait until these engineering students perfect their snowmobile-like device that also skims across water, but not when it’s frozen.
The Jet Blade, designed by four engineering students at Michigan’s Calvin College, is very reminiscent of Kawasaki’s Jet Skis that you often see tearing across a lake. But with a pair of steerable shock-absorbing skis up front, this personal water craft actually shares more design traits with a snowmobile.
The biggest difference—besides the fact that this craft floats—is that instead of a spinning track in the back for propulsion like on a snowmobile, the Jet Blade has a 650cc, 50 horsepower engine sitting on a large rear ski powering a strong pump. So it’s more like a Jet Ski there, but as you’re leaving the dock the Jet Blade isn’t very maneuverable until you build up enough speed for its skis to rise up and hydroplane on the surface of the water. Once that happens, the craft is surprisingly nimble.
The Jet Blade’s creators still have some work to do before putting their creation into production, though. At the moment it has some difficulties traversing choppy lakes with waves larger than a couple feet, so the craft would be limited to use in cottage country. And there’s a little more leaning involved when cornering, which could require some practice before riders really punch the throttle. But the team is confident they can get the Jet Blade onto the market for about $12,000, and are currently on the hunt for potential investors. So if you want to help bring it to lakes and rivers across the country, you can contact its creators through their website. [Jet Blade via Gizmag]