UPDATE: Floris Kaayk, aka, Jarno Smeet, appeared on Dutch television today where he admitted his video was a hoax. Wired reports Kaayk claims it was an "experiment about online media."
A video purporting to show Jarno Smeet flying with a pair of mechanical wings has gone viral this week, but many are still wondering if the feat was real or an elaborate hoax. The validity of Smeet's claims has yet to be determined, but there are several reasons for viewers to be skeptical.
1. Here's one angle I haven't seen pursued anywhere else: Nintendo is currently relaunching a video game for the Wii called Kid Icarus, and Nintendo Wii technology is heavily promoted in Smeet's videos. And of all the companies mentioned in the videos, Nintendo is the one still not responding to requests for comment. The timing couldn't be better: The game will officially be released tomorrow.
2. The second most immediate reason to doubt the video's authenticity: Smeet has yet to re-create or even attempt the feat before an independent, outside source. You'd think someone who mastered a feat that has baffled mankind for hundreds if not thousands of years would be out doing a little more showboating. Over the past 24 hours, Smeet has been offering vague responses to his skeptics via his Twitter account.
Still, there has been no shortage of expert opinion on whether or not this video might actually be real.
3. One high-profile skeptic is Industrial Light and Magic's technical director Ryan Martin. "They're able to afford to build this thing, but can't invest in proper video equipment, or … a tripod," Martin told Gizmodo. "If I were to make a fake video with the intention of going viral, I would make certain that the quality was as poor as possible to disguise any flaws in poor CG work."
4. Martin backs up his skepticism by marching out several experts from ILM who now say they have hard evidence that the video is a hoax, relying on computer generated imagery.
5. Wired magazine also did some fact checking on Smeet's alleged background and says it has been unable to verify several claims made in his online resume.
We all want this story to be true. But for now, unfortunately, it appears to be too good to be true.
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