Posts Tagged ‘iron man’

Iron Man Style Exoskeleton Full Body Armor

September 10, 2008

Humans aren’t the swiftest creatures on Earth, and most of us are limited in the amount of weight that we can pick up and carry. These weaknesses can be fatal on the battlefield, and that’s why the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investing $50 million to develop an exoskeleton suit for ground troops. This wearable robotic system could give soldiers the ability to run faster, carry heavier weapons and leap over large obstacles.

Read The Full Article “Iron Man Style Exoskeleton Full Body Armor” at Discovery Channel Canada.

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Iron Man DVD (Release 30 Sep)

September 6, 2008

Don’t forget new collection of Iron Man (2008). The new Iron Man DVD will be released on 30th Sep 2008 with Ironman Blu-Ray disc too.

You know you’re going to get a different kind of superhero when you cast Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role. And Iron Man is different, in welcome ways. Cleverly updated from Marvel Comics’ longstanding series, Iron Man puts billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (that’s Downey) in the path of some Middle Eastern terrorists; in a brilliantly paced section, Stark invents an indestructible suit that allows him to escape. If the rest of the movie never quit hits that precise rhythm again, it nevertheless offers plenty of pleasure, as the renewed Stark swears off his past as a weapons manufacturer, develops his new Iron Man suit, and puzzles both his business partner (Jeff Bridges in great form) and executive assistant (Gwyneth Paltrow). Director Jon Favreau geeks out in fun ways with the hardware, but never lets it overpower the movie, and there’s always a goofy one-liner or a slapstick pratfall around to break the tension. As for Downey, he doesn’t get to jitterbug around too much in his improv way, but he brings enough of his unpredictable personality to keep the thing fresh. And listen up, hardcore Marvel mavens: even if you know the Stan Lee cameo is coming, you won’t be able to guess it until it’s on the screen. It all builds to a splendid final scene, with a concluding line delivery by Downey that just feels absolutely right. –Robert Horton

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How To: Build Your Own Iron Man Powered Armor

June 1, 2008

As we saw in the first instalment on home-made Iron Man-style armor, it’s not impossible to make a suit of armor that gives you protection from bullets -– the problem is being able to move afterwards. Even when advanced ceramics and composites are used, it’s hard to get the weight down. Medium-sized inserts in Interceptor armor weigh four pounds apiece and are about the size of a sheet of A4, so whole body protection is going to weigh a lot. If you could carry a few hundred pounds extra, wearing this sort or armor wouldn’t be so much of a problem –- and that’s when a powered exoskeleton starts looking like a good idea.

Researchers have been working on exoskeletons since the Navy’s unsuccessful Hardiman project back in the 60’s (I think they borrowed from the design for the Matrix movies though). Progress has been slow and the results have been mixed at best. If you want to build your own, then it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of patience. One of the more advanced projects has been the Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX), which includes a pair of robotic legs and a backpack. The latest product from Berkeley is the Human Universal Load Carrier (….yeah, that’s HULC™….) which is intended to add 200 pounds to your carrying capacity.

The reduction of the wearer’s metabolic cost is of paramount importance for long duration missions. This is true because excessive oxygen consumption leads to premature fatigue even if the exoskeleton supports the load. In fact, a very recent BAA from the Natick Soldier System Center requests proposals to conduct a preliminary study on solutions that lead to a reduction of oxygen consumption.

HULC™, fueled by proprietary technology, decreases the wearer’s oxygen consumption and heart rate thereby increasing the wearer’s endurance.

When the users carried a load, the effect was more pronounced. The oxygen consumption of these users carrying an 81 pound approach load at a speed of 2MPH was decreased by about 15% when using the prototype HULC™.

Video here .

The Army meanwhile has bigger plans. In an article for The Brookings Institution, Peter Singer gives us A Look At The Pentagon’s Five Step Plan For Making Iron Man Real. This is the Land Warrior program, now Future Force Warrior, which involves a large number of gadgets and gizmos being assembled into one wearable suite for the foot soldier, including various sensors from super-sights to sniffers, weapons, communitcation and navigation. With that sort of load you’re going to need an exoskeleton. But as Singer points out, sometimes the Army get a little carried away:

When the Army-MIT super-soldier project launched, its director, Professor Ned Thomas, extolled, “Imagine the psychological impact upon a foe when encountering squads of seemingly invincible warriors protected by armor and endowed with superhuman capabilities, such as the ability to leap over 20-foot walls.”

The problem was that the images his program used on the grant proposal were pretty much lifted from the Radix series, about a female superhero who wears an armored skeleton with just those same superpowers. Comic book creators Ray and Ben Lai threatened the project with a lawsuit, “They’re selling this as science fact while we’re trying to sell it as science fiction. And people don’t even know that we created it in the first place. People might even think we’re copying them.”

But it doesn’t necessary take big corporate resources to build a working exoskeleton. Inspired by the powered armor in Starship Troopers, Monty Reed, a former Ranger, has built his own version. Called Lifesuit, it is intended to help those who have lost the use of their legs:

The Seattle native, now 40, has used mostly his own money over many of the past 19 years developing a robotic device he devoutly believes will allow even quadriplegics to walk, climb stairs and, someday, perhaps to dance.

A lanky, 75-pound contraption evoking scenes from “Robocop” and “Aliens,” the robotic exoskeleton looks like a combined backpack and rocket pack, topped with scuba tanks.

Reed has founded a not-for-profit medical organization, TheyShallWalk, to back the project. )Video of the Lifesuit here.)

I remain undecided about whether powered armor is a good idea. I was struck that when SARCOS were researching their powered exoskeleton for the US Army, one of the things that vets most requested was the ability to jump out of the suit and make a run for it. Exoskeletons like Lifesuit may have their uses for the disabled, but on the battlefield they have a long way to go before you’d want to bet your life on one.

(( If all this tinkering with hardware sounds like a lot of work, perhaps the virtual alternative is easier. A competition in Second Life is giving residents the chance to win $125,000 (that’s Linden dollars, it’s about USD $400 ) by creating Iron man fan art using the official Iron man avatar.

Entries so far run from “the sublimely cool to the ridiculous” – there’s a gallery here.))

Want even more? There’s a host of Iron Man related articles at Wired.com’s Iron Man Extravaganza: Everything You Need to Know , covering the movie, the technology of exoskeletons, and related comic-book material.