Ostrich Beyond Bionic


Ostrich

Andy Torbet goes up against the world's most powerful animals. Andy uses superhero technology to try to match the top speed of the fastest bird on two legs, the ostrich.


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Transcript


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Have you ever wondered what it would be like

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if humans had the super skills of animals?

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But who would be crazy enough to try and fly like a falcon,

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grip like the gorilla and swim like a shark?

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This guy.

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I'm Andy Torbet and this is Beyond Bionic -

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the show where I try and match the skills

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of some of nature's most incredible animals.

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Action is Andy's middle name.

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I mean, it's Thomas, but...

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And now, I'm using my super skills

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to take on nature's superheroes in the biggest challenge of my life.

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And don't worry,

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I'm hanging around to make sure he doesn't do anything too extreme.

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Whoa!

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Today's Beyond Bionic challenge is all about the need for speed,

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as I try to match one of the fastest animals on earth.

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It's time for me to go Beyond Bionic.

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Go, Andy!

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In today's Beyond Bionic challenge,

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I'm going to need some serious speed, which means...

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..I need to go faster than her...

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..quicker than him...

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..and even faster than that is going.

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Because today's challenge

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is all about racing the fastest animal on two legs.

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I got this! It's a kangaroo.

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BUZZER

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OK, what about this little guy, the basilisk lizard? He's speedy!

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BUZZER

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OK, technically, it's a bird.

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Roadrunner! Beep, beep!

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BUZZER

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Let me introduce you to Oscar the ostrich.

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And his friend.

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Ah! With peepers that big,

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Oscar's definitely going to be keeping his eye on you.

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Good job this isn't a staring competition.

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Ostriches are the biggest birds in the world.

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They do have wings, but they're really small,

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so the ostrich can't fly, but that doesn't matter for them,

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cos they are built to run

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really, really fast.

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Er, Andy,

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have you seen the size of Oscar's legs?

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They are way longer than yours.

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There's no doubt about it.

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I'm going to have to go Beyond Bionic to stand any chance

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of beating this speedy sprinter.

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It's game on.

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Ostriches belong to a group of flightless birds called ratites

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and they are born to run.

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Ostriches can reach incredible top speeds of up to 45mph.

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Well, blow me down with a feather!

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Because ostriches can't fly,

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they've developed sprinting skills to help them outrun predators.

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Phew! That was close, I was getting in quite a flap there.

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Speed isn't their only defence.

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This bird has a karate kick so powerful

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it can take out a lion in one go.

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And a ten-centimetre claw on each foot

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makes the ostrich a fearsome opponent.

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Oscar, can I get you a sandwich?

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Maybe grubs? Mealworms?

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I will do anything, just keep those feet away from me.

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The ostrich may be the largest bird in the world,

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but when it comes to brainpower,

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that's a whole different ballgame.

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Ostriches have brains smaller than their eyes.

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A real bird-brain. Who knew?

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The Beyond Bionic team have set me the challenge

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to race the fastest bird in the world on two legs.

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Andy, you're really going to need to leg it on this one.

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Get it? "Leg it"?

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I am hilarious.

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And if that wasn't difficult enough,

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they want me to match the ostrich's top speed of 45mph.

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That's nearly 1.5 times faster

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than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.

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You've got to go faster than a gold medal winner?

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Whoa. That's heavy, dude.

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So if I'm going to outrun an ostrich,

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I need to transform my body using science and technology

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and go Beyond Bionic.

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But first, I want to know how much extra power I'm going to need,

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so it's time to put my sprinting skills to the test.

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This is Loughborough University and I'm here to get some coaching

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from one of the UK's fastest female sprinters, Asha Philip.

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Asha Philip is a world-class sprinter

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and competes in the 100 metres for Team GB.

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She can run it in 11 seconds.

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Asha's also a leading member of the 4x100m relay team,

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who won silver at the World Athletics Championships in 2017.

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Asha is Team GB all the way.

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Check out those nails!

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With Asha's impressive track record,

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I'm hoping she can give me some top tips to increase my maximum speed.

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If I'm going to race an ostrich, I need to get off on the right foot.

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So do you have a favourite leg?

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Erm...

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-OK, if I push you...

-Yeah?

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OK, that shows you're right-legged.

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-What leg do you start with?

-I'm right-legged as well.

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-Oh, that's cool, then.

-So you're perfect.

-OK.

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-So put your right leg first.

-OK.

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-You're going to bend down.

-Yep.

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Then you go set...

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..and then go.

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-RECORD SCRATCH

-I've never actually run on a track

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before, so this is probably going to be very embarrassing.

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More embarrassing than this?

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-What happened?

-Was I meant to go?

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Yeah, we said go!

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-That's not a great start.

-No!

-Shall we try that again?

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-All right, then.

-OK.

-Set...

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Go.

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14mph.

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OK, we've got some work to do.

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We'll try again.

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It's not very fast.

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It's certainly not as fast as an ostrich.

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Sprinters like Asha can average 20mph over 100 metres,

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so I'm way off her speed.

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And right now, the ostrich is in a different league altogether,

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so I'm going to need some help.

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-That's very... Just, like, robotic.

-OK.

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-We're going to try and open you up a little bit.

-OK.

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I want you to, like, relax the arms

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and open up your legs while you're running.

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OK, that makes sense, cos an ostrich has a massive stride length

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and that's one of the things that helps it to run faster, so...

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Right. Round two.

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On your marks.

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Set.

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Go.

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-Go.

-And go.

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-Go.

-Go.

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Go again.

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-Keep going.

-That one was better.

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Oh, yeah! You're doing great.

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You know what? You're getting there, you really are.

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But we're going to get that stride length just a little bit bigger.

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That's all you want. And you want your thighs to pump forwards.

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OK, is there anything we can do to kind of help my start?

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Yes!

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Blocks.

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I've never done this before.

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Running blocks are used by every World and Olympic sprinter

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to try and get one step ahead of the competition.

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And now you're using them to get one step ahead of an ostrich.

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Just another normal Beyond Bionic day. Ha!

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If I get through this without...

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..going headfirst into the deck, it will be a miracle.

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Right. Oh...

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Right.

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-Try and keep your arms as straight as possible.

-OK.

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Set.

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Go.

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Asha's not giving me any excuse to give up.

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This is what comes with training with a top athlete.

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Yeah. Just get your arms to do the same.

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Do you get a lot of people coming in, Asha,

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asking how to race wildlife?

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Punch your arms.

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Stride bigger.

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Go.

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You've definitely used the blocks, I must say.

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He's got it now.

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Set.

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Go.

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18mph.

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-Oh!

-Now you can beat a third of an ostrich.

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Go, Andy!

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That was so much better.

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That was, honestly.

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Well, that felt good

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and I've had a lot of great training off Asha.

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It's all about that explosive start, staying low, then moving high,

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keeping your stride as long as possible and pumping with your arms.

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But the ostrich can do over 40mph

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and I'm not even making half that,

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so there's still a lot of work to do.

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Asha, thank you very much for your help today.

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Oh, you're welcome. Honestly, you did such a good job.

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Asha's top tips and the running blocks

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have definitely helped me increase my natural running speed.

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But if I'm going to get close to the awesome sprinting skills

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of an ostrich, I need to find a way to boost my power

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and go Beyond Bionic.

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There's no getting away from it.

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These birds are super quick.

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But how do they compare to the other superstars of the animal kingdom?

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I can feel some fast facts racing my way.

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Run me through them, Andy.

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When it comes to sprinting on two legs,

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the ostrich and the wallaby are seriously quick.

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He certainly looks excited,

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look at him bouncing around with joy!

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Australia's winning wallaby has a top speed of 30mph.

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It can even keep up with the traffic in town.

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But the ostrich is 15 miles an hour quicker

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and overtakes this Aussie superstar with ease,

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clocking up a top speed of 45mph.

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Beep, beep!

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Travelling as fast as that, you could end up with a speeding ticket.

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We all know the cheetah is one of the fastest animals on land,

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but over a long distance of 10,000 metres,

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the ostrich would knock the cheetah's spots off.

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Ostriches store energy in their leg muscles,

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meaning they can keep running for longer.

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Eat dust, cheetah!

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But who is going to poach the title for largest egg?

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Say hello to the kiwi.

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These nocturnal birds lay eggs that can weigh 300g

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and measure up to a staggering 14 centimetres.

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But running away with the title is the ostrich egg,

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which measures a mighty 18 centimetres

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and weighs a ridiculous 1.2kg.

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No way! I am shell-shocked.

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Animals really are nature's superheroes and I'm totally in awe.

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But I'm also seriously competitive.

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I hate being beaten and I like to win.

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So if I'm going to stand a chance against the strongest,

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fastest and best-designed animals in the world,

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I need their super skills.

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And how do I do that?

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I'm going around the world

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to find the latest in cutting-edge technology

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and the experts who could help me transform my body

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and go Beyond Bionic.

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So what have I got to do to sprint like an ostrich and win the race?

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First, I'll need to work out how to match its stride length.

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Mm-hm!

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Standing at nearly three metres tall,

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ostriches come equipped with two seriously long legs,

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which are capable of covering a massive five metres

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in a single stride.

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So all we've got to do is stretch you?

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No problem. Where's the rack?

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Even the best human sprinters can only manage two metres.

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OK, Andy. You've really got your work cut out this time.

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But that's not all.

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I'll have to improve the pushing power of my feet.

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Jump to it, Andy!

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Supercharged muscles on the ostrich's feet

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mean that, when they make contact with the ground,

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they can push their bodies upwards and forwards

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with twice the force of a human sprinter.

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Who knew that muscle feet were the in thing?

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All of that adds up to make my feathered friend

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a fearsome opponent.

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FYI - don't mess with feathers here.

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So how are you going to match him?

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First stop is the East Coast of America

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and I'm heading to the town of Framingham, Massachusetts.

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It's time for me to hit the racetrack and test out some tech

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to try and get me one step ahead of the ostrich,

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and I need some serious thrust.

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You mean like rocket power?

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Oh, this could be interesting.

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I'm meeting roboticist Jason Kerestes.

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He's come up with a real piece of superhero kit.

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What a total dude.

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So what have we got here?

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So this is the 4MM jetpack, OK?

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And basically, it's going to make you run really fast.

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That is exactly what I need to do.

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Also, it's a little bit different than most jetpacks.

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This is an electric version,

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which means there's no flame coming out the back

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-and it can turn on instantly. You want to check it out?

-Yeah, cool.

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So this will give you about 20lbs of thrust.

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So I'm going to push this button here and it's going to just turn on.

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WHOOSH!

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Yeah!

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-There's a lot of power there.

-Oh, yeah.

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So the important thing is now, can I have a go?

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Not yet. I want to see how fast you are without it first.

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Ah, I thought you might say that.

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-OK, on your mark.

-OK.

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Get set.

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Go!

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To find out if the jetpack really can increase my speed,

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Jason needs to know how fast I can run without it,

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so I'm up for the 100 metres.

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Well, let's hope with a jetpack it's not only faster,

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but it makes it a bit easier.

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OK, how was that?

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Well, you took 14.32 seconds to run 100 metres

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and I clocked you in at 19.2mph.

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It looks like Asha's coaching has paid off.

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19.2mph is the fastest I've run in this challenge.

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Now can I use the jetpack?

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-Now you can use the jetpack. Let's get you suited up.

-Right!

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With 20 lbs of thrust propelling me along,

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I need some protective gear in case I wipe out.

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Safety first, Andy! Safety first.

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Safety is cool.

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All right, now we've got you all suited up,

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why don't we give you a chance to just get familiar with the jetpack

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and have you run back and forth a few times?

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-Yeah, sounds good, OK.

-All right.

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-There you go.

-Right.

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I'll be back in a minute.

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WHOOSH!

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It's time to put this awesome piece of kit to the test.

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Oh, this is so totally Beyond Bionic!

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So how did it feel?

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Yeah, it feels like somebody's running behind you,

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just pushing you along.

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It's like a super wind assist.

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-You think it's going to help you run faster?

-Oh, yeah. Definitely.

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-In fact, let's give it a go.

-Let's check it out.

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Now that I'm comfortable running with a jetpack,

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it's time to see if it can make a difference to my speed.

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This is it. The moment of truth.

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Three, two, one!

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-Go!

-Blast off!

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It's weird.

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I think I was faster,

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but it kind of feels slower because it's much less effort.

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Although I'm out of breath,

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I'm nowhere near as bad as I was when I was running on my own.

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So it's certainly less effort.

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What I want to know is, though, is it faster?

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Don't keep me in suspense,

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let's have the results!

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So your total time for running 100 metres

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was 10.56 seconds.

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That's world-class sprint speed!

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Wow! That's nearly a whole four seconds faster

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than without the pack.

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But I hate to tell you,

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at top speed, Oscar the ostrich

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could have run 100 metres in about five seconds. Ouch.

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You know what? It's been so much fun playing with a jetpack,

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running around the track today.

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But my need for speed...

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..continues.

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The Beyond Bionic team have set me a head-to-head challenge

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to race the fastest bird in the world on two legs.

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Ostriches can reach top speeds of 45mph,

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thanks to their powerful legs and super stride length.

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-Go.

-My natural running speed is nowhere near that fast,

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topping out at 19.2mph.

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So I've got to find a way to transform my body

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and give myself the same sprinting speed as Big Bird here.

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I've found some incredible superhero tech that increases my speed

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but can't give me the sprint start I need to go all the way

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and time is running out to complete my challenge.

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Can I beat the ostrich at its own super skill?

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Or will I go home with egg on my face?

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My bid to run rings around the ostrich is keeping me in the USA,

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as I travel over 3,000 miles from the East Coast

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to the Golden State of California on the West Coast.

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I'm slowly edging closer to the sort of speed I need to reach

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if I'm going to be successful in this challenge.

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But to go even faster, I found a piece of technology

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that's actually designed to mimic the structure of an ostrich's leg.

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I've heard the inventor is around here somewhere.

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Whoa!

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Meet Keahi,

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who's dreamt of running as fast as an ostrich

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since he was 12 years old.

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He's fascinated by how their legs and feet work,

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so much so, he's studied how they run

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and built his very own pair of bionic boots.

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Keahi, these boots look absolutely amazing

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and I can see how they sort of mimic the lower leg of an ostrich.

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Ostriches get their running power from the tendons in their legs,

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which can store twice the amount of elastic energy per step

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as a human being.

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This means they can really spring into action when they run

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and Keahi's boots work on exactly the same principle.

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So the idea behind these boots is they not only make you taller,

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they also store energy in these large rubber springs at the back.

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So with each stride, they store energy

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and then recoils you into the air,

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almost as if you were running on a trampoline.

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So how easy are they to use?

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Well, they're pretty intuitive to use,

0:17:540:17:56

so it's quicker to pick up than, say, riding a bike or ice-skating,

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because basically it's a natural extension of the human leg.

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Do you think with these boots I can run faster than an ostrich?

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Well, there's only one way to find out.

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Let's get you practising and try them on. Let's go.

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This is going to be like learning to walk all over again,

0:18:130:18:17

ostrich-style.

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So I'm getting padded up before these amazing boots are strapped on

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and I take my first ostrich steps.

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Oh, this is so egg-citing!

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I'll give you a bit of room.

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Gasp! You're actually walking on them, Andy!

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First few seconds right here, he-he.

0:18:330:18:34

-There you go, you're doing well.

-I can kind of stand up.

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It does feel quite strange.

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This is how it must feel to be tall.

0:18:420:18:44

Yes, exactly!

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You've obviously picked them up very quickly.

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It's the next stage of turning it into running at high speed,

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which is where expertise comes in,

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practice, and that's where it gets a little fun.

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-Walking actually doesn't feel that difficult.

-Yep.

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But as soon as you start running, it suddenly requires a lot more skill.

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-You're a lot less stable.

-Absolutely.

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You've got to concentrate on the feeling

0:19:060:19:08

of when you need to push off,

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so you feel the energy go into the springs

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and then, with each stride, you need to know when to do it.

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And he's off!

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OK, so your jogging is a bit more funky chicken than Swan Lake,

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but all this effort is bound to pay off.

0:19:230:19:25

Go, Andy!

0:19:250:19:27

Well, Keahi makes this look a lot easier than it really is.

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There's a lot more skill and balance involved than I first thought.

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But I'm getting there slowly. I've got walking,

0:19:350:19:37

I'm almost at the edge. I'm doing a little jog.

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But whether I'll manage a max-effort, full-on sprint

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in time to race the ostrich, remains to be seen.

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But practice makes perfect.

0:19:470:19:50

Yeah, you're really clocking up the miles.

0:19:500:19:52

Forget sprint, this is more like a Beyond Bionic marathon,

0:19:520:19:56

which has got me thinking...

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What if the ostrich took on the Olympic marathon?

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It could run 26.2 miles in 40 minutes.

0:20:030:20:07

That's three times quicker than the Olympic record

0:20:070:20:09

of two hours, six minutes and 32 seconds

0:20:090:20:12

set in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics.

0:20:120:20:14

Slowcoach!

0:20:160:20:17

What if you cooked an ostrich egg?

0:20:170:20:19

How many omelettes would it make?

0:20:190:20:22

One ostrich egg is the same as 24 chicken's eggs

0:20:220:20:25

and you need three chicken's eggs to make an omelette.

0:20:250:20:27

Bring on the maths.

0:20:270:20:29

So, one ostrich egg will make eight omelettes.

0:20:290:20:33

Let's get cooking!

0:20:330:20:35

What if humans could stride like an ostrich?

0:20:350:20:37

Well, we'd certainly get everywhere quicker,

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because every step we take would be over three metres long.

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The same length as a small car.

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And if we sprinted, our stride would be even bigger,

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extending to the size of a limousine.

0:20:480:20:50

Say cheese!

0:20:510:20:52

The Beyond Bionic team have set me the challenge

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to race the fastest bird in the world on two legs.

0:21:000:21:03

And today's the day I try to push my body beyond its physical limits

0:21:030:21:08

to reach a top speed of 45mph just like an ostrich.

0:21:080:21:12

Without a doubt, this challenge has run me ragged.

0:21:140:21:17

I've worked hard to improve by running technique

0:21:210:21:23

and picked up some great sprinting techniques from the very best.

0:21:230:21:26

I want you to, like, relax the arms

0:21:260:21:28

and open up your legs while you're running.

0:21:280:21:30

Go.

0:21:300:21:31

There's no way I can match my opponent for natural speed.

0:21:310:21:35

But I have found some incredible tech tools

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that could help me run faster.

0:21:370:21:39

And now it's time for me to put those to the ultimate test.

0:21:400:21:44

Welcome to the World Ostr-olympics 60 metres sprint!

0:21:530:21:57

Going head-to-head, its human being Andy Torbet of the United Kingdom,

0:21:570:22:02

up against largest bird in the world, the ostrich,

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originally from the plains of Africa.

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As they warm up, we can see that our competitors

0:22:100:22:12

have pretty different ways of preparing for the big race.

0:22:120:22:15

Andy Torbet, intense, focused,

0:22:150:22:19

wobbly.

0:22:190:22:21

But Beyond Bionic about his pre-race preparation.

0:22:210:22:24

Oh, oop, oh.

0:22:240:22:26

-So much control on that bounce.

-Yep, exactly. So you're getting it!

0:22:260:22:30

And Oscar the ostrich, who is all about kicking back and relaxing.

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But don't be fooled by this chilled-out approach.

0:22:340:22:37

There is some serious staring going on here,

0:22:370:22:40

as our duo attempt to psych each other out.

0:22:400:22:42

And I know who my money's on.

0:22:420:22:44

This is our track for the big race.

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But not only am I relying on this top bit of tech,

0:22:500:22:55

I've also got to bear in mind all those things that Asha taught me.

0:22:550:22:58

Come out strong and powerful at the start,

0:22:580:23:01

rise up to a tall position, pump my arms

0:23:010:23:04

and big strides of the legs.

0:23:040:23:06

But enough talk, it's time for action.

0:23:060:23:09

Woohoo!

0:23:130:23:14

It's race time, people, as Bionic Boots takes on Big Bird.

0:23:140:23:19

OK, it's almost time for the big race.

0:23:190:23:21

-Any last-minute top tips?

-OK, there's a few things.

0:23:210:23:24

So first of all, I want you to concentrate

0:23:240:23:26

on each of your foot placements on this uneven terrain.

0:23:260:23:28

Secondly, just get your mind into the mind-set of the ostrich.

0:23:280:23:32

-Get bionic.

-OK, sounds good.

-You can do this, mate.

-Yeah!

0:23:320:23:35

Let's get it!

0:23:350:23:36

This is no walk in the park.

0:23:370:23:39

I'm sprinting against the world's fastest bird on two legs,

0:23:390:23:42

over 60 metres of uneven gravel.

0:23:420:23:45

But I'm determined I won't be beaten by my feathered friend.

0:23:450:23:48

It's time to go Beyond Bionic.

0:23:480:23:51

Go!

0:23:510:23:52

Whoa, look at that ostrich go!

0:23:560:23:59

And that's why it's the fastest bird on two legs.

0:23:590:24:03

-Get it, Andy!

-That sprint start was world-class.

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I had no chance.

0:24:060:24:07

I'll let Oscar have that one.

0:24:120:24:13

I was going easy on him.

0:24:130:24:15

Big mistake. It's definitely game on now.

0:24:150:24:18

Oh, Andy, you're so generous!

0:24:180:24:20

It's not like you're competitive or anything!

0:24:200:24:22

But you'd better hope Oscar goes easy on you this time,

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and maybe Keahi can give you the edge.

0:24:250:24:27

We did some quick adjustments with the springs themselves

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to adjust for his weight,

0:24:300:24:32

so hopefully, with that slight adjustment,

0:24:320:24:34

he'll be able to give the ostrich a run for its money.

0:24:340:24:37

Go!

0:24:370:24:38

It's no good. Oscar's left me for dust yet again.

0:24:440:24:48

Well, that was a bit embarrassing.

0:24:540:24:56

The boots are great, I can really feel that power it's given me.

0:24:580:25:01

But I've just not had enough practice

0:25:010:25:03

to really properly sprint in them.

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You know what?

0:25:060:25:07

I've got an idea to make this a proper contest.

0:25:070:25:11

You're going to make the ostrich run on one leg?

0:25:110:25:13

You're going to hitch a ride? You've hired a jet engine?

0:25:130:25:17

Nope. I'm going to make Keahi do it.

0:25:170:25:20

This challenge is not over yet.

0:25:200:25:22

I know the boots can do far better than I just did,

0:25:220:25:25

so I've given them back to Keahi.

0:25:250:25:26

He's the expert and he can show us what they can really do

0:25:260:25:30

against our feathered friend.

0:25:300:25:31

But I'm not sitting back, I'm joining in too as I am.

0:25:310:25:34

So this race sums up everything we do on Beyond Bionic.

0:25:340:25:37

It's a human being against a human being with technology

0:25:370:25:41

against wildlife itself.

0:25:410:25:43

OK, here we go.

0:25:430:25:44

As the competitors line-up,

0:25:440:25:46

we have Andy Torbet with a top speed of 19.2mph

0:25:460:25:50

against Keahi and the bionic boots built to run like an ostrich

0:25:500:25:53

up against Oscar the ostrich, a real ostrich.

0:25:530:25:57

We're determined to try and beat this super sprinter

0:25:570:26:00

and his top speed of 45mph.

0:26:000:26:03

Let's hope he's having a really bad day.

0:26:030:26:05

On your marks...

0:26:060:26:08

Get set...

0:26:080:26:10

Go!

0:26:100:26:11

This is epic!

0:26:140:26:15

They're off and they're neck and neck.

0:26:150:26:17

Oscar just takes the lead from Keahi.

0:26:200:26:22

Even Andy's on his shoulder.

0:26:220:26:23

But as Oscar gets into his stride...

0:26:260:26:28

..and a dog gets involved...

0:26:300:26:31

..it's all over for humans and technology.

0:26:320:26:35

It was a great effort, guys, but as we look at the results,

0:26:370:26:40

clearly beating the pants off you both is Oscar the ostrich,

0:26:400:26:43

who takes the gold.

0:26:430:26:45

Then Keahi and the bionic boots in a well-deserved silver medal position.

0:26:450:26:49

And the bronze goes to you, Andy.

0:26:490:26:52

This time, nature definitely came out on top.

0:26:520:26:54

I've trained with one of the world's best sprinters.

0:26:580:27:01

That was so much better.

0:27:010:27:02

I've used some of the world's best tech.

0:27:020:27:04

So your total time was 10.56 seconds.

0:27:040:27:07

That's world-class sprint speeds!

0:27:070:27:09

Even used bionic boots.

0:27:090:27:11

Yet I have come nowhere near the speed of the ostrich.

0:27:110:27:14

Oscar and your feathered friends, I salute you.

0:27:150:27:18

Action adventurer Andy Torbet takes on some of the biggest challenges of his life as he attempts to match the super-skills of some of nature's superheroes, as he embarks on a range of thrilling and daring challenges.

In this episode Andy travels to California to find the superhero technology that can help him match the fastest bird on two legs, the ostrich. This super-sprinter has a top speed of 45mph, so Andy tries everything from a training session with Team GB sprinter Asha Philip, to using a jet pack to increase his running speed.

He even runs in a pair of the aptly named Bionic Boots, which were inspired by the 0strich itself. But is all the bionic technology enough to beat the ostrich in a head-to-head race, or will Andy be going home with egg on his face?


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