Aerovelo's projects have attracted an incredibly diverse and passionate group of individuals with a desire to do something incredible. The core of the design teams have been primarily engineering students and young professionals, but the projects would not have been possible without the extended network of community volunteers, friends and family. Aerovelo was started by, and continues to be led by, co-founders Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson:
Todd Reichert, Founder
(PhD, Aerospace Engineering, U of T)
Todd is the muscle behind Aerovelo's human-powered vehicles. He is driven by a desire to tackle problems that are out of the ordinary and is fearless in his pursuit of breaking engineering and physical boundaries. Taking up speed-skating in 2010, Todd rose to national competition level within a year. Aerovelo has challenged him to take his athleticism to another level. With an output of 1 horsepower for 1 minute, Todd's legs have powered the flights of the world's first human-powered ornithopter (Snowbird) in 2010, clinched the Sikorsky Prize in 2013 by powering the helicopter Atlas, and earned Todd the title of World's Fastest Human by travelling an incredible 89.59 mph in the Eta speedbike. Earning his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto, Todd’s specialty also lies in the aerodynamic design of both aircraft and streamlined land-vehicles, with a specific interest in blending the functional and the beautiful.
Cameron Robertson, Founder
(MASc, PEng, Aerospace Engineering Graduate, U of T)
Cameron is passionate about inspiring public interest in science, technology, and environmentally-conscious engineering. Aerovelo’s projects are an exciting platform for this outreach and an engaging challenge requiring innovation and creativity. Cameron graduated University of Toronto Engineering Science (Aerospace) in 2008, and earned his MASc from U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies in 2009. His expertise includes structural design and optimization, advanced composite materials, and material selection for lightweight aerostructures. In addition to Eta, Snowbird, Atlas, and ongoing work in speedbikes, he spent 2 years in industry developing small unmanned aircraft systems. Cameron enjoys rock climbing, squash, sailing and kitesurfing in his free time.
What We Do
What We Do
Our current focus is the continued development of the Eta speedbike designed specifically for human-powered land-speed record. In 2015, Aerovelo first succeeded in surpassing the previous record of 133.5 kph, and has incremented the record four times since, most recently with an astounding 144.17 km/hr (89.59 mph). Eta has now matched its design predictions... but there is still more that can be done. Learn more about the Eta speedbike project here.
On June 13, 2013, Aerovelo’s Atlas human‐powered helicopter won the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Challenge and its $250,000 prize. During the record-breaking 64 second flight, Atlas reached a height of 3.3 metres, meeting all requirements of the 33 year old aviation challenge. Spanning over 150 feet and weighing less than 120 lbs, Atlas is an incredible testament to doing more with less.
The human-powered ornithopter project was driven by the desire to achieve one of humanity’s oldest aeronautical dreams with the successful flight of a human-powered, flapping-wing aircraft. On August 2nd, 2010 the Snowbird sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, becoming the world's first successful human-powered ornithopter. The Snowbird was designed and constructed by members of the Aerovelo team as part of the University of Toronto's Human-Powered Vehicle Design Team.
Our projects are supported by the generous donations and support of our partners and sponsors, and by many passionate and interested individuals who have contributed to our kickstarter campaign, or volunteered directly on a project. If you are interested in becoming a part of the Aerovelo team, or want to support one of our projects, please contact us.
Reichert and Robertson spend their time pushing the limits of human potential. Innovation, inspiration, and pioneering new ways of approaching a problem is what defines Aerovelo. Their projects have taken them from human-powered helicopters to aerodynamic bicycles capable of reaching speeds of over 140km/hr. Driven by passion to change the future, and fearless in their approach to seemingly impossible engineering challenges, their journey has led them to a unique understanding of what it takes to tackle the impossible. They now share the story of this journey, and the lessons they've learned with audiences around the world.
Aerovelo started with the dream to achieve one of humanity's earliest aeronautical goals - to fly like a bird under our own power. Many assumed that this dream was impossible, but Todd & Cameron were energized by the problem. Their key realization was to understand that to call something impossible means accepting all of the assumptions and constraints of the framework that says it's impossible. "Impossible" is not a standalone concept. Once they realized that they could think about the problem using a different framework, they had a way to solve it. Todd & Cameron and their team went on to invent "Snowbird", the world's first human powered ornithopter to achieve sustained flight.
Todd and Cameron's talks centre on the common themes of "Doing more with Less" and making the impossible possible.
The Aerovelo story includes lessons on rethinking old problems, and how failure is a critical part of the process. We've all heard that failure is a part of success, but that's an incomplete picture. The real lesson is that the cost of failure become exponentially greater the further into the innovation process you go.
Stanford Seminar Series AA294, Stanford, USA, May 10, 2017
Paul B. McCready Lecture, San Francisco, USA, April 22, 2017
Red 7 Media Marketing Summit, San Francisco, USA, May 13, 2015
Factory of Imagination, Odense, Denmark, May 18, 2015
Innotown, Alesund, Norway, May 20, 2015
Google Sci Foo Camp, San Francisco, USA, August 2014
NASA Ames, San Francisco, USA, January, 2014
AHS Aeromechanics Conference, San Francisco, USA, 2014
Innovator, Abu Dabi, UAE, March 2014
Ingredients of Innovation, TEDx WesternU, April 2013
Challenging the Impossible, PopTech, Camden Maine, October 2013
Challenge Drives Discovery, TEDx Youth Toronto, November 2013
Challenging the Impossible, Zurich Minds, Zurich, Switzerland, December 2013
Doing More with Less (Technical Lecture), University of Michigan, October 2013
Todd and Cameron are represented by the Brightsight Group speaking agency. For booking inquiries please contact: