Is Iron Man the real life soldier of the future? Possibly. Read more below.
Since Tony Stark is unavailable to advise the military on its robotic exoskeleton project, officials have turned to the next best thing: the special effects team that made the Iron Man costume. "It's daunting," says Lindsay MacGowan, co-founder of Legacy Effects, "because somebody's life eventually is in your hands."
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Academy Award-winning studio — which also designed suits for RoboCop and X-Men: Days of Future Past — is one of several companies hired by the military for Project TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit). Other developers include a Canadian company that is studying how sumo wrestlers fight while carrying so much weight, researchers in Florida studying medieval suits of armor, and Ekso Bionics, known for designing an exoskeleton that enables paraplegics to walk. Legacy Effects is using 3D printers to create rapid prototypes of body armor designs.
The developers presented several prototypes to the military in late June. "We have projects now that are going to range from exoskeletons, to micro-climate cooling vests, to spines that support the helmet," project manager Brian Dowling tells WSJ. "The human body can't look too different in its form and function, but the technology you'll see will look drastically different than a soldier today."