Futuristic military technology, weapons and gadgets take center stage in the science fiction film "Edge of Tomorrow," which features Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt wearing exoskeletons, wielding machine guns and traveling through time.
Is any of this possible? We checked in with Sony Imageworks, the effects studio behind most of the realistic weaponry and tech. The answers might surprise you.
Many of the characters in the movie wear an “Exo-Suit," taken directly from Hiroshi Sakuzara’s 2004 novel, "All You Need is Kill." Soldiers can run faster, punch harder, swing a helicopter blade and even use a zip line from a quadcopter. Seem far-fetched? A company called Ekso Bionics is working on an exoskeleton suit to help paraplegics walk again. Special effects supervisor Daniel Jramer said the filmmakers built an actual suit for Cruise, who wears it in many scenes.
The quadcopters in the film, based loosely on the Bell Boeing Quad TiltRotor, are available today as toys -- and you can control them from your phone. About the size of a pillow, quads like the upcoming Parrot Bebop and the DJI Phantom Vision can make steep banking maneuvers, hover above your backyard pool and rise to incredible heights (limited by FAA regulations to about 400 feet). Kramer says the real inspiration was the Bell Boeing Osprey heli that can tilt its engines at an angle and fly like a plane or a helicopter.
3. Time reset
Could we ever invent a technology to reset a day and start over? The aliens in the movie, known as the Mimics, use time travel as a battle strategy to surprise Earth forces and gain an advantage. By repeating the same battle, they learn how troops gather and create a massive trap for the enemy. While that’s not remotely possible, there is something to be said for the tactic of watching troop movements, predicting patterns and pouncing on vulnerabilities.
4. Zip lines from dropships
Many summer camps offer zip lines through the woods, and Navy SEALS use them to enter a battlefield from hovering helicopters. But jumping from a quadcopter a few thousand feet above the war zone? There is a correlation in the real world, according to Kramer. Stuntmen and women use a device called a Descender -- a wire attached to a coil -- to drop down into a scene. They control the descent and can slow down their momentum. If you look closely during the early battle scenes, you can see similar coils in the dropship.
5. Head-up Display
Watch for the head-up display shown in the quadcopters late in the film. A shimmering orange display appears in a windshield, which helps the pilot focus on the action at hand. What you might not realize, if you have never driven a Corvette, is that the technology is available today. A projector shines the display onto the windshield so you can see your speed, navigation and even the current gear as you focus on the road. The upcoming 2015 Kia K900 even adds your current cruise control setting.
Spoiler Alert! One of the movie’s plot devices is a gadget that allows soldiers to read the minds of the alien. Tom Cruise's character jams one into his leg to find the location of the alien's Omega -- the “overlord” who controls the Mimics. You may think mind control is the stuff of fiction, but toys like the Uncle Milton Force Trainer from a few years ago can tap into EEG signals in the brain. It’s not so unrealistic.