Do you ever have the urge to pull off a truly epic “Superhero Landing” to assert your dominance? Well, A UK entrepreneur is working to make that happen with his own Iron Man suit — or at least the closest approximation to Tony Stark’s suit that could be made with off-the-shelf components and some added ingenuity.
Richard Browning and his company, Gravity, developed the exosuit — called the Daedalus flight suit — which is capable of hurtling a human through the air via six gas turbine (jet) engines. Two of the jets are mounted at the base of the suit’s backpack (or with one strapped to each leg depending on the configuration) and each arm receives dual jet engines. All six of the jets are fed by a fuel tank that is mounted in the backpack.
Right now, “flights” have been limited to hovering a few feet above the ground, but the ultimate goal is for human pilots to take to the skies at speeds of several hundred miles per hour.
So, what is it actually like to hover through the air using Daedalus? It’s “like riding a bicycle in three dimensions,” says Browning. While that may be the case, riding a bicycle is a relatively harmless affair for beginners. What’s the worst that could happen? You might fall off and scrape your leg or arm.
However, it would be an epic fail if you were to literally crash and burn with six jets strapped to your arms and legs. And imagine future versions with people flying through the sky at a few hundred miles per hour who might experience a freak mechanical failure or heaven forbid, run out of fuel. Iron Man is a fictional character that is protected by his incredibly expensive (and strong) exoskeleton in the event of a crash or an untimely “Hulk Smash”. For a mere human though, such an in-flight disaster could prove deadly (although we’d imagine that a parachute would be integrated for a failsafe).
Regardless, this is a promising product, and Gravity has teamed up with Red Bull to further development of the technology. Who knows, within a decade or so, we may be even closer to building our own real-life Iron Man suits. Now, where did I leave my arc reactor?