Perhaps the most advanced, technologically speaking, super hero to hit the screen, Iron Man, returned this summer to continue his quest of saving the world and with it came a bigger desire to learn about “real” iron man suits.
The exoskeleton robotic outfit that was developed for military use has been reborn in a second generation attempt at being the closest suit to a real iron man suit. Released by Raytheon it is faster, stronger and lighter that the previous version but it also uses less than half the power that the first one did and appears to be more resistant to environmental factors as well.
The military faces different logistical problems both out of and in battle; things like repetitive lifting can cause serious orthopedic injuries. The Iron Man suit reduces the exertion and strain on the individual by doing the lifting for them; as well as doing it much faster. One individual in this suit can actually perform the work of two or three soldiers; using these exoskeletons would allow the military to assign personnel to more important strategic tasks.
Raytheon decided to target power consumption by looking for different ways to utilize hydraulic energy in a more efficient manner. This enabled them to add more capabilities while still being able to significantly reduce the consumption of power. The suit itself has a combination of different sensors, actuators, controllers and structures that are powered by a high pressure hydraulic system.
This suit will enable the wearer to lift over 200 lbs. several times in succession and hit through several inches of wood all without becoming tired; yet still be agile enough to climb ramps and stairs, kick soccer balls or even punch speed bags with ease.
It is believed that these types of suits are viable solutions to many issues that the military faces and could be in use within as little as five years.