Ever since characters like Iron Man began to enter the public consciousness thanks to films and renewed interest in comics, more attention has been spent on ways to make super suits a reality. While Iron Man may never happen, the guys at Harvard are hard at work on the next best thing.
The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences just received a $2.6 million contract from DARPA that will enable the research and creation of a “smart suit” to augment the abilities of soldiers in the field. We’ve seen these so called “smart suits” before and they never really amount to anything. Let’s just be glad Harvard isn’t making something this stupid:
While the terrible G.I. Joe film’s accelerator suits will never come to fruition, Harvard’s suit is far more interesting. The suit has the potential to “delay the onset of fatigue, enabling soldiers to walk longer distances, and also potentially improve the body’s resistance to injuries when carrying heavy loads.” While it might sound like Iron’s Man suit, it’s actually more of a soft frame. Here’s an illustration from the researchers:
In fact, it would be better than Iron Man’ suit because it’s not cumbersome or heavy. Tony Stark requires a lot of energy to power his suit, whereas this would require very little. It does this by “providing low-level mechanical vibrations that boost the body’s sensory functions.” The suits won’t be able to shoot beams or fly, but they should prove to be a low-cost way to improve functions for not only soldiers, but the elderly and those with disabilities.
Of course, this is only the beginning. As technology progresses, we’re going to start seeing more cybernetic implants that help improve our core basic functionality. Let’s just hope that people are ready for the change. I don’t want to be attacked in a McDonald’s just because I have a cybernetic arm or leg.