Monday, July 7, 2014

U.S. military working with Hollywood to build robo-suit

The Wall Street Journal reports that Legacy Effects, a company that builds Hollywood animatronics and prosthetics, has been hired by the US military to develop a real-life Iron Man Suit. The suit would include a lightweight exoskeleton that is supposed to carry a great deal of weight and provide body armor protection.

According to WSJ, "The suit could change the way the U.S. military fights wars. For years, American forces have worked to shed pounds from the load they carried through the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan—more than 125 pounds on some missions, including weapons, electronics and body armor. Developers of the Iron Man suit say it could weigh as much as 400 pounds, requiring a powered exoskeleton to move the armored troops with speed and agility.....The military has embraced the superhero imagery in its pursuit of the Iron Man suit. The first video to promote the program showed bullets bouncing off an animated Iron Man soldier as he burst through a locked door."


Elizabeth said...

I'm always glad to see our boys better protected. All the same, those suits make me think of Darth Vader's storm troopers.

krystal said...

wow, I hate to be the pessimist here, but this doesn't seem like a great idea at all (this is just my opinion). There is a certain degree of 'cool factor' initially, but I initially snapped out of it and went "what are they thinking!?" As one person commenting said "is this just me or does it sound like just insanity?"
There is a difference between looking cool and having real functionality (weight, efficiency, etc). I read this magazine daily, Design News (also, NASA Tech Briefs), and there have tonnes of great ideas that not only think about design, but also sustainability and efficiency, given the tasks these soldiers have to perform in the field on a daily basis.
A HUGE problem I have with the entertainment industry is that they often do not think about such concerns, in favour of the 'cool' factor (then again, they don't really have to, I guess?) But when you have to deal with things like BOM (bill of materials) it becomes a different kettle of fish.
I remember at one time in Design News they were trying to even make a boot that used Kinetic energy to charge objects within the soldiers' suits (but the reality was that it was too heavy with all the components). Even with great engineers, they had realistic and practical constraints that had NOTHING to do with aesthetics.
I've heard about the failure of movie designers in the car industry, carpenters in the movie industry trying to work on real houses (and failing miserably). Utility and design are separated a lot of the time in the movie industry. I work with a company that does work for both the military and entertainment, and often the needs are ENTIRELY separate when reality hits; I'm not just blabbing here. I wish them well, though!

krystal said...

I'd like to add; I wish instead of this we'd spend more time teaching our children how to LOVE math, science and things like coding. In art, it seems like a lot of people I've met have gone into entertainment/ art because they wanted to get away from math. I LOVE Physics and have come to LOVE Math the older I get. I'm learning coding in my spare time when I"m not working (there are FREE courses that teach this online). This is the FUTURE and the film industry is very very behind in this respect. I can't tell you HOW many people I've met in the entertainment industry who say all the time "I hate math". It's unacceptable! The educational system in this country is sub-par. Perhaps instead of adult fantasies we should be encouraging the younger generation to MAKE things and DO things to make a difference and strengthen our resourcefulness as a people; to be entrepreneurs, savvy in finance and economics as well. They're not separate disciplines; just because you like art doesn't mean you can't be a math or coding nerd also, because the future is that as an artist/ designer you're going to have to use BOTH. It's a TOOL. That's all...

Lindsay Gravina said...

I'm worried this means all our future forces could be stopped with EMP weapons.