Bionic Brit Babbage Bear boards brilliant balloon, bests ballsy Baumgartner

Plucky Raspberry Pi mascot 'Ted Bull' skydives from 39,000m

Vid and pics We're delighted to report that Raspberry Pi mascot Babbage Bear wrested the world skydiving record crown from Felix Baumgartner on Monday - by leaping into the void from a breathtaking 39,000m.

Stepping from his foam launch platform, Babbage took the plunge into the history books, pipping the Austrian's 38,969m jump, as this video shows:

So it's hats off to Raspberry Pi wrangler supreme and Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team member Dave Akerman for showing that when it comes to high-altitude tomfoolery, we Brits still have the Right Stuff.

As we explained last Friday, Babbage was packing a Pi board and camera surgically implanted into his right eye socket...

Babbage and the Raspberry Pi rig before insertion into Babbage. Pic: Dave Akerman


Bionic Babbage dangling and ready for action. Pic: Dave Akerman

...which delivered some cracking live bear's-eye views via Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) as he soared westwards from the launch point in Brightwalton, Berkshire:

A view from Babbage's eye-mounted Picam


A view from Babbage's eye-mounted Picam


A view from Babbage's eye-mounted Picam

Babbage poses for the webcam after his record-breaking jumpThe plucky bear finally parachuted to land in a field* just south of Shaftesbury, Dorset, before posing (right) for the audience who'd been following the action live at batc.tv.

In fact, yesterday's triumph followed a highly entertaining first attempt on Saturday, which ended in a complete stratodangle as Babbage failed to detach from his launch platform and came down still attached to his release cord.

The reason, Dave explained, was that the MOSFET-driven resistor intended to cut through the nylon cord simply didn't have enough welly for the job. He told us on Saturday night: "I'll use a lower resistance resistor, swap the weedy AAAs for some AAs**, and run it for 10 seconds instead of five."

We advised: "Just crank it up to 11."

Last night, Dave was able to report with a smile: "11 worked well."

It certainly did. Bears Beers all round, we reckon. ®

Bootnotes

* Or quite possibly up a tree, since Dave was seen on the live webcam feed sneaking off with a telescopic pole. Anyone who's ever launched a stratomission - or indeed a humble RC aircraft - knows they are magnetically drawn to trees, as was our own Paper Aircraft Release into Space (PARIS) Vulture 2, and our Covert High Altitude Vehicle (CHAV).

** Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries - the power cell of choice for High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) missions, due to their resistance to low temperatures.

Sponsored: Network DDoS protection