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article imageHollywood is helping the military build a real Iron Man suit

By Ryan Hite     Jul 9, 2014 in Technology
Hollywood is working with large defense contractors to create what the government says is a real life Iron Man suit that they hope to be able to test and release by 2018.
The US military isn't keeping its interest in building an Iron Man suit a secret, unlike many other projects that they have and are currently working on. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal published details on the work already being done to create such a suit. The government's plans for the suit, known as TALOS, is straight out of science fiction and comic books. It wants the suit to have weaponry, provide protection from bullets, monitor vitals, and give the wearer superhuman strength and perception. To make that, it's called on the private sector to help, with big name defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon getting involved.
Smaller companies have stepped in too, including some from unusual sectors and some taking unusual approaches to helping to build the suit. Special effects maker Legacy Effects, which created the Iron Man suit for the movies, has reportedly become involved and is helping to design and 3D prototypes, according to the Wall Street
Journal. Legacy is helping on behalf of Ekso Bionics, an exoskeleton creator company, and admits that what it's doing is a big change of pace. "When you're doing something for a movie it is all make-believe," Legacy founder Lindsay MacGowan said. "Whereas, for the military, that's really not going to be the case."
Creating an exoskeleton that can handle everything the military has in mind for the suit has become one of the biggest challenges for them and it's there that the Wall Street Journal reports that companies are branching out in different directions. One group, for example, has begun studying sumo wrestlers to determine how they move around with such agility in spite of their weight. Researchers have also been studying exoskeletons of insects to see how they maintain strength.
The Wall Street Journal further reported that developers expected TALOS to weigh in as much as 400 pounds, adding to the hurdles. The Pentagon believes that 365 pounds of that might need to be batteries to power all of the systems that the military wants the suit to use. For now, however, there remains no good way to power it, which is an area that Tony Stark had quite a lead on in the movies. $10 million has reportedly been spent on the project with no clear cap to its budget. The military has said that it would like to deploy the suit as soon as 2018.
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