In August 2018, Iron Man may go beyond fictional comic books, saving the day in real life. The U.S. Army is developing an advanced military suit that people have been likening to Tony Stark's high-tech armor.
TALOS, or Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, is a battery-powered robotic exoskeleton designed to protect the lives of soldiers on the front lines, especially those who lead the army in a mission.
Adm. Bill McRaven got the idea of the super suit when a U.S. soldier under his command died during a raid in Afghanistan, vowing never to let such a tragedy happen to one of them again.
"One of our folks going through the door was killed by the Taliban on the other side in an attempt to rescue a hostage," McRaven told National Public Radio (NPR).
Compared to Iron Man's suit, TALOS is a liquid armor that can solidify when it's hit by a bullet, which is more technologically advanced, but it won't have flying capabilities or a built-in JARVIS, although it has in-helmet technologies that improve visibility and provide better communication with the rest of the troop.
A chemical engineering professor from the University of Delaware Norman Wagner applied nanotechnology to produce this adaptive liquid material.
"These particles organize themselves quickly, locally in a way that they can't flow anymore and they become like a solid," Wagner explained the technology to NPR.
Just like Stark's suit, TALOS is fitted with built-in sensors that monitor the wearer's health, checking conditions from heart rate to body temperature.
The suit is far from completion, as the developers are still fine-tuning it to further improve its protection capabilities and cut down its strain on the wearer.
The head U.S. Special Operations Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, took over the project and hopes to have it ready for the U.S. Army as soon as possible to give each soldier "the advantage when he is most vulnerable."
For now, Iron Man-like super suits can only be seen in action on the movie screen.