Troy Hurtubise created “Project Grizzly.” He passed away a few years ago, in 2018. However, part of his life now serves as an inspiration for us.
Humankind has been fighting bears since the beginning of time. However, the limits and vulnerabilities of our bodies make that task incredibly complicated. We aren’t built to fight bears, and if we do so, we may end up severely injured – and in the worst case, even death.
Even if that’s our reality, that didn’t stop Hurtubise; he was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1963. He was always a man with innovative ideas – some of which were ahead of their time, many believe.
Hurtubise wasn’t the only inventor in the family; his father was a dedicated anthropologist and inventor. Eventually, Hurtubise would become a local celebrity, especially due to his Sci-Fi-like inventions.
Some of his devices include a machine that can make other objects transparent and a protective ballistic suit that soldiers could use as a form of protection during battle. One of his most notable inventions was “Firepaste,” which adds flame and heat resistance to anything.
Although these inventions were quite notable and important, nothing tops his best creation: the Ursus suit.
The Ursus Suit was Hurtubise’s ultimate creation, as he dedicated a great part of his life to it. After being attacked by a bear and surviving, he decided that he would build a suit capable of making the wearer survive the attack of a bear (or any other animal that was as aggressive as they are). The suit was also intended to help understand a bit better how animals behave.
The costume was made of duct tape, metals, and a few other materials he had at home. Then, the day when the suit would be put to the test came.
— Ryan Maier (@TherealRyMy) April 7, 2017
Hurtubise put on the suit and put himself in danger to prove that his invention was capable of withholding forms of severe aggression.
The sequences are quite interesting but distressing to watch as the man puts himself in several situations of danger, including being slammed by a vehicle through a brick wall and being hit by a baseball bat. Still, it seems like the suit fulfilled its purpose, as Hurtubise was unharmed.
Then, the moment of the truth came. He was now going to test the suit against a bear. The “experiment” took place in the Rockies, and Hurtubise was dropped by a helicopter. Although he was more than ready to prove that his invention worked, to his disappointment, there was no bear to fight.
Hurtubise won the Nobel Prize for Safety Engineering in 1998. He started gaining fame and became quite popular after his documentary, “Project Grizzly,” was released. He was invited to several talk shows and interviewed multiple times. However, it seems that Hurtubise didn’t enjoy the newly found fame that much.
Throughout the years, Hurtubise’s mental health declined. At some point, the man said that he was “the biggest failure you’ve ever looked at.” Despite having quite interesting inventions, none of them were commercialized.
Then, on June 17, 2018, Troy Hurtubise died as a result of a car accident, and it is suspected to have been a suicide. The theory isn’t 100% confirmed, but it seems like the inventor drove his car into a moving truck on purpose. During an interview with The Spectator, his wife said that “his death means that he’s not suffering anymore.”
Hurtubise’s creativity was outstanding in many ways. He’s now resting in peace and will always be known as “the man who built a suit to fight bears.”
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