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The Military Hardware Technology

Iron Man Is Another Step Closer To a Reality 289

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.
arshadk writes with this excerpt from an article at CNN: "Inside a prosthetic shell of metal and hydraulics, Raytheon test engineer Rex Jameson is putting an XOS-2 exoskeleton through its paces. As the crowd watches, Jameson uses his robot hydraulic arm to shadowbox, break three inches of pine boards and toss around 72-pound ammunition cases like a bored contestant on the 'World's Strongest Man.' The suit moves as he moves and amplifies his strength 17-fold. ... Raytheon is seeking to develop the suits to help the US military carry supplies, and claims that one operator in an exoskeleton suit can do the work of two to three soldiers. If all goes as planned, the company hopes to see 'Iron Man' suits deployed in the field by 2015."
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Iron Man Is Another Step Closer To a Reality

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  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:38AM (#34206374) Homepage

    This story refers to the Second Generation of the Raytheon Exoskeleton released at the time of the Iron Man 2 DVD back in September.

    We've seen footage of the guy tossing ammo boxes and shadow boxing, but those were all the first generation suit, unless you saw this story already on Engadget, Scientific American, etc.

  • RELATED FAIL (Score:1, Informative)

    by PHP Wolf (629571) <doublecompile&gmail,com> on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:45AM (#34206444) Homepage
    See the "Related Topics" on the left side of the article? "DC Comics Inc.". Way to fail, CNN. Iron Man is a Marvel Comics franchise.
  • by Barrinmw (1791848) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:10AM (#34206676)
    Buy one suit, military keeps it repaired for 20 years, 20 years of 2 people in the military > 1 suit.
  • Pine boards... (Score:3, Informative)

    by junglebeast (1497399) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:15AM (#34206718)

    Are extremely easy to break, which is why we use them in tae kwon do. Little kids have to break them for testing. Adults would often punch or kick through 3 or 4 boards like this. Not impressed.

  • Re:Beat me to it :) (Score:4, Informative)

    by RsG (809189) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:28AM (#34206840)

    That was implied to be a fusion reactor. I was actually impressed in the second movie where they made oblique references to neutron embrittlement, which is much more sophisticated physics than comic book movies usually get. Mind you, the rest of the movie's physics were still awful, but I'll cut it some slack given the source material and the desire to be faithful to it.

    Presuming it was a fusion reactor, you can pretty much forget about seeing them that small anything soon. Fusion power plants scale up better than they scale down, partly as a result of the square-cube law, and partly as a result of components being hard to miniaturize. We don't even have building sized fusion plants that can produce more energy than it takes to achieve and maintain the reaction in the first place. We'll probably have working fusion power in this century, assuming we keep at the R&D and don't blast ourselves back to the stone age in the meantime, but I doubt we'll have it miniaturized to Iron Man levels anytime in the next couple hundred years.

  • Re:Intended Use? (Score:3, Informative)

    by RsG (809189) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:47AM (#34207076)

    In point of fact, exploding fuel isn't exactly a huge risk.

    This is one of those areas where Hollywood is to blame for the popular perception. Every time a car goes off a cliff, every time a tanker truck catches a stray bullet, every time hydrogen is even mentioned, what follows is an impressive pyrotechnics display.

    Doesn't work that way in real life. Mythbusters, who never avoid a myth involving kaboomery, have tested most of the fuel explosion myths and found them wanting. Fuel (gasoline, propane, hydrogen, diesel, etc) can catch fire certainly, but this rarely involves the instant towering inferno seen in film and on TV.

    As far as that goes, it's not like the military doesn't use plenty of fuelled combat vehicles already. They know how to make them not blow up every time somebody with an AK cuts loose. Self sealing tanks and armour plating in particular mitigate the risk.

    So I wouldn't worry about it. And if fire or explosion is a concern, I'd suggest diesel fuel for powered suits, as it doesn't ignite easily, and pretty much can't explode on its own.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

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