Sharing the Wealth: Making an Iron Man Suit in Real Life

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In reel life, Tony Stark was having problems of his own when he revealed that he was, in fact, Iron Man. The U.S. Government wanted a piece of the pie, naturally. They reasoned with Tony that technology this groundbreaking shouldn?t be kept in the hands of one man, and that they should be given the specs and Stark Industries should cooperate with them on building a whole line of these suits. In genuine Tony Stark fashion, Stark gracefully declines and says that in not sharing the technology of his Iron Man suits, he has ?successfully privatized world peace?.

In real life, the same suit is being eyed with gusto by the U.S. Armed Forces. While it may sound far from reality, they are pursuing the idea of creating an ?Iron Man? type of battle-suit. This is in line with the continuing modernization of the Armed Forces, from nuclear-powered subs and carriers to pinpoint missile strikes.

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Thus far, the details for the suit aren?t secret anymore, although it does sound quite far-fetched if you look at it from a scientific point of view. The suit aims to have all the trappings that Tony Stark?s Iron Man came with. Bullet protection, vital monitoring, superhuman strength, speed, and awareness…you name it, the suit?s gotta have it. To this end, it has drawn no shortage of backers, with names connected to Air Force fighters such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon being mentioned.

So far, everyone?s getting involved in the creation of the suit. Special effects company Legacy Effects, the same company who was involved in the movies, is creating 3D prints of prototypes for the suit and is very much involved in designing it. They?re in the picture as a representative of exoskeleton creator Ekso Bionics. Their reason for helping is simple: the chance to do something for flag and country. They go so far as saying this is a whole lot different from the make-believe world of movies.

So far, the suit has presented a lot of monumental challenges and new ways of studying how to make it work have surfaced. There is one group that reportedly works with sumo wrestlers in order to learn how to make the suit agile and fast despite weighing a lot. Another group is currently involved in the study of an insect?s exoskeleton, in an effort to find out how to effectively maintain your strength while wearing the suit.

Details for the suit, as they surfaced, don?t look promising. The suit weighs around 400 pounds, with 365 pounds alone added on it for the batteries. They figure that it will need all that power just to power the systems that are being mapped out for the suit. Tony Stark developed the arc reactor (the one powering his electromagnet as well) as a means of providing the energy for his suit. In real life, however, the military seems to be having the same problem Obadiah Stane had. A budget of $10 million with no cap has been pegged for the suit, with the military adding that it envisions having a suit of this magnitude by 2018.

(with excerpts from: The Wall Street Journal)

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