Could 'Iron Man' Become a Reality? US Army Working on Smart Battlesuits, TALOSNick Romano |
Although fan-made gadgets replicating some of the Iron Man character's various abilities (and even some pretty authentic cosplay creations) attempt to bring this famous Avenger into the real world, what about more legitimate technology? Are we getting close to seeing an actual working Iron Man-like suit? It turns out, the US army is already hard at work on making this a reality for soldiers.
Special Operations Command is teaming up with universities, laboratories and the tech industry on the creation of smart suits called TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) to be worn by soldiers in the field.
For one, this suit would ideally be able to withstand gunfire and projectiles. Professor of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware Norman Wagner is using nanotechnology to lend the suit an extra layer of liquid-like material that is designed to instantly harden into a durable state when hit with something. Speaking with NPR, "These particles organize themselves quickly, locally in a way that they can't flow anymore and they become like a solid."
For another, the TALOS suits would come with attachable exoskeletal frames, which Gareth McKinley, a professor at MIT, compares to Sigourney Weaver's battlesuit in 'Aliens.' According to an official statement by the US army, TALOS provides superhuman strength to its wearers, coming in part from attachable hydraulic arms and leg features that increase various physical traits (speed, strength, durability, etc.).
And, of course, we can't have a real-life Iron Man suit with out its real-life JARVIS. Although in this case it'd be more akin to Google Glass. The goal with TALOS is to provide soldiers with 360-degree visuals, including a look at the entire battlefield, a night-vision computer and the ability to literally watch their backs. In addition, the visual component would be able to track and monitor body temperatures, heart rate and hydration levels.
The TALOS team projects to have a working model completed within the next three years, but, as we saw with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark on the big screen, mass producing the Iron Man suit didn't always work out. What do you think of this real-life Iron Man concept? Check out computer-generated renderings of the suit in action above and below.