With billions to be made in profit and millions of shrapnel flying towards soldiers’ heads, the U.S. military is due for added protection. Whether or not science fiction becomes reality sooner than later remains to be seen.
Today brought word of Project TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit), the military’s campaign to build the ultimate soldier with a motorized exoskeleton that features a helmet with Google Glass style display, a cooling system to regulate body temperature and of course, enhanced armor. That alone sounds intriguing, and what caught our attention is Legacy Effects, the Hollywood studio working with the military to make this Iron Man-style suit a reality; in addition to designing Tony Stark’s outfit, Legacy also created wearable tech seen in RoboCop and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The problem? The initial budget of $80 million isn’t enough to make this happen (think a billion), and an early (manufacturer unknown) prototype’s motor had trouble running properly. On top of that, experts think it would take 365 pounds of batteries to provide the juice for the kind of suit the military has in mind; that’s crazier than the power-starved Atari Lynx.
Compare the image of the present day soldier on the left with the sci-fi warrior on the right. That seems advanced even by Starship Troopers standards.
Perhaps the military should look at Activision’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which features a much cruder exoskeleton that imbues the wearer with enhanced abilities, namely super strength and jumping. Here’s a look at the CoD Exoskeleton in action.
Sure, it’s a video game, but we don’t expect the U.S. to make a quantum leap in creating the next full spectrum warrior; we also need a higher vertical on the basketball court once the technology is civilian ready.
No Iron Man yet, we’re afraid, but what the enemy sees on the battlefield a few short years from now may be drastically different than the soldier of today. Now all it needs is a copy of Angry Birds.