Hollywood Helping US Army Create 'Iron Man' Inspired Tactical Suit
There's been plenty of instances where sci-fi on film has informed technology in real life. Even though we may not be getting hoverboards in 2015, Back to the Future Part II still has inspired Nike to unveil power laces sometime next year. Now it's Iron Man that has inspired the United States military to build a tactical suit that is inspired by the work of Tony Stark and the high-tech suit that makes him a superhero. The Wall Street Journal (via The Verge) just unveiled a report about government plans for a project called TALOS, a suit that will be weaponized and bulletproof, not to mention increasing strength and perception. Read on!
The companies involved in the project are names you might expect like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Raytheon along with some smaller unnamed companies. But one of the somewhat surprising inclusions is that of Legacy Effects, the company who created the Iron Man suit for the film franchise. Their expertise is being used to help design and 3D print the prototypes being created to test TALOS. The company's involvement is on behalf of another company called Ekso Bionics, and they admit it's not as easy as what they're used to. Founder Lindsay McGowan says, "When you're doing something for a movie it is all make-believe. Whereas, for the military, that's really not going to be the case."
Calling back to the work between the government and Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, the biggest hurdle in the project is creating a suit that is able to include everything that the military deems fit to make it worth their time and efforts. One such problem is the weight of the suit itself. Currently TALOS prototypes are weighing around 400 pounds, and a whopping 365 pounds of that is dedicated to the batteries needed to power everything the military wants on the suit. This has researchers looking into sumo wrestlers to figure out how they distribute their weight and move with so much agility.
Sounds like a pretty tall order, and our technology doesn't seem quite where Tony Stark's genius capabilities and endless resources have gotten him in the fictional Marvel universe. Still, it's crazy to think that something like Iron Man, or maybe Iron Patriot when all is said and done, might be something our military starts using. Leave it to the American government to figure out how to turn everyone of our soldiers into some kind of superhuman weapon. Here's hoping that Hammer Technologies doesn't get involved though.