Originally published on October 15, 2013
The U.S. Special Operations Command (Ussocom) called on scientists to develop a lightweight smart suit using kevlar and nanotechnology that functions as a 'practical exoskeleton' to protect soldiers from shrapnel and bullets.
The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) -- named after the mythological Greek automaton made of bronze that Zeus assigned to protect his lover Europa -- will give the wearer super-human strength and protect soldiers from intensive combat situations.
Professor Gareth McKinley, who has been working on his 'liquid armour' technology for 11 years, said the suit sounds like Iron Man.
The suit can monitors a soldier's heart rate, hydration levels and core temperature and respond to the data, supplied by an on-board computer hooked up to sensors, to keep a soldier in the best conditions for battle by providing heat, air conditioning and oxygen.
The armor can also transform from a more liquid form to a solid in a fraction of a second under the influence of a magnetic field or electric current.
If a soldier is wounded, the suit monitor their health and even stop bleeding using a "wound stasis" program such as one being developed by DARPA that sprays foam onto open injuries.
The hydraulics powered exoskeletons can attached on soldiers' arms and legs to allow them to carry more gear and run faster than they would on their own.
The night vision equipped in the lightweight suit will increase soldiers' mobility at night, while the antennas offer an capacity for communications.
Professor McKinley said, "Like all good superheros, Talos has one weakness. For the Army's Talos, the weak spot is either the need to carry around a heavy pump for an hydraulic system, or lots of heavy batteries. We don't have Iron Man's power source yet!"
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