Real-Life Iron Man Suit Is Stronger, Faster Than Ever

U.S. military tech firm Raytheon is living the dream -- as long as that dream involves donning a mechanical suit, smashing through thick pine boards and pressing a hundred kilos just for fun. Meet the XOS 2.

Let's face it -- who doesn't want to be Iron Man?

Since the Marvel superhero's arrival in cinemas, progress toward recreating his exoskeleton has been steady. Geriatric Japanese farmers gathered radishes with the benefit of the Power Assist Suit in April, and U.S. soldiers eagerly awaited their HULC arms in July. Now, there's a new entry to the field.

Marvel Entertainment

The Original XOS 1

Raytheon actually beat them all to the punch with its original XOS 1 back in 2008, which unfortunately required a tethered power connector for any activity longer than 40 minutes.

It was still impressive, but hardly gave soldiers the capacity to blast off to the rescue of poor villagers terrorized by rogue warlords at a moment's notice. Here, actor Clark Gregg, known for his role as Agent Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D in the film Iron Man 2, admires the XOS 1 prototype robotics suit.

Raytheon

Breaking Boards

Raytheon has just responded to the competition. On Monday, the company's Sarcos research arm unveiled to the world the XOS 2, the upgrade that it says relegates XOS 1 to the "proof of concept" bin.

XOS 2 test engineer Rex Jameson breaks some wooden boards during a demo at the Raytheon Sarcos research facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Raytheon

Suiting Up

XOS 2, said Raytheon, is lighter, stronger and faster than its predecessor. "Yet it uses 50 percent less power and its new design makes it more resistant to the environment," the company announced.

Here, Gregg suits up in the XOS 2 robotic suit to promote the release of Iron Man 2 on DVD and Blu-ray.

Raytheon

Heavy Lifting

The Sarcos research lab has actually come up with two designs, one of which is strapped to the lower body and does away with the power cord. Here, Jameson quietly lifts 200 pounds.

Raytheon

Injury Avoidance

The power cord remains for proper heavy lifting -- back injuries are a genuine problem for soldiers, Raytheon noted --  but the flexibility and power has been ramped up several-fold. Jameson avoids these risks with ease, while still lifting a heavy projectile.

Raytheon

Faster, Stronger

"People wonder if I feel like Iron Man when I suit up," Raytheon Sarcos test engineer Rex Jameson said.

"I can’t speak for Tony Stark, but when I’m in the suit I feel like me -- only a faster, stronger version of me," he said.

Raytheon

Push-Up Time

"Given that [Stark’s] character lives in a California mansion and owns a stable of very fast race cars, that's probably as close as we'll come to a shared experience,” continued Jameson on the similarities he felt with the real Iron Man.

He then did a few sets of weighted push-ups to demonstrate the flexibility of the suit.

Raytheon

Bend It Like Beckham

Raytheon vice president of operations Fraser Smith said that military interest in exoskeletons is at the stage where deployment is "inevitable." But which suit will win that battle? Smith thinks the new XOS 2 suit’s versatility makes it especially valuable. Here Jameson has no problem playing a bit of soccer.

Raytheon

Desperately Needed

[These exoskeletons] are desperately needed,” Dr. Smith continued. “With a sustained commitment, they could be in place within five years.” 

And without them, how would our solders attack the fast bag? 

Raytheon

Real-Life Iron Man Suit Is Stronger, Faster Than Ever

U.S. military tech firm Raytheon is living the dream -- as long as that dream involves donning a mechanical suit, smashing through thick pine boards and pressing a hundred kilos just for fun. Meet the XOS 2.

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