Nov 052013
 

It seems that the Iron Man films – and other sci-fi fare – have inspired more than an onslaught of video games, comic books and t-shirts. Due to the increasingly dangerous missions carried out by the military, a new Iron Man-like suit is being developed for soldiers. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

Yep, this crappy CG video is not a last-gen computer game. This is a “simulation” of what the suit will do. Allegedly, according to an article on Mashable, the creation of the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – or TALOS – was inspired after a Special Ops officer witnessed one of his fellow soldiers dying while trying to safe a hostage. After the idea was born, the construction of a prototype was underway.

A chemical engineering professor from the University of Delaware, Norman Wagner, decided to create the material of the suit out of nanotechnology, saying that it will be a liquid-like substance. Apparently, it will be light-weight and durable until it is hit, which it would then become very hard and tough. As the professor puts it, the reaction of being hit will cause particles to bunch together and form a protective layer.

On top of this, the suit will have an exoskeleton, which will have attachable hydraulic arms and legs (for heavy lifting). AND it will have a visor with 360 degree night vision display, just because why the hell not… and to see any nearby enemies.

I guess, for me at least, this kind of tech and wear is frightening. Sure, it’s fun to watch and read about Iron Man flying through the skies and taking out bad guys. But, and here comes the nerd part of me, the idea of Iron Man was that he funded and produced these types of weapons, and he is redeeming himself by destroying them.

Off the topic of comic book themes, this huge progression in military tech is scary due to the increasingly powerful nature of these inventions. Sure, there are some huge benefits for the use of this suit: more protection, less lost lives, take out the enemy easier, etc. But what happens after this? Where do we go next? And what about the rest of the world? Are they going to just sit back and let the US make Iron Man suits and do nothing? Doubtful. This seems like another arms race.

Granted, it’s not on a nuclear scale, but this is still crazy. I mean, this is justĀ one small step at the moment. Where does it take us? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer for that. But I’m not sure if I want the answer right now.

 

 

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