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The Military Is Two Years Away From Unleashing Its Real-Life Iron Man Suit

The Department of Defense is two years away from unveiling an Iron Man-like suit. Known as the Tactical Light Operator Suit (Talos), it can repel bullets, help lift heavy objects, and provide lifesaving oxygen. The suit also comes with 3D audio; heating and cooling systems; and embedded computers.


Credit: US Army

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).

The Talos suit is a battery-powered exoskeleton that weighs just over 13 pounds. It attaches to the back, thighs, and feet, and allows its wearer to carry an additional 33 pounds. The suit will also come with a unique form of liquid body armor that solidifies on command. The wearer triggers a magnetic or electric current to activate the armor.

Video: The Army's real life 'iron man' suits

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 US Special Operations Command partnered with Darpa in 2013 to engineer the suit. It's unclear how much the suit will cost, but a 2014 Defense Tech article estimated it at $80 million.

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