Ever wished you had a suit similar to the Iron Man, so that with a click of a button all fly away from all your problems and worries? While it is sadly true that even with such a contraption you would still have to live your life as it is, but still it would be pretty cool to have a personalized suit you can fly in. Well, you are not alone with this wish! It seems that some Indian engineering students were so inspired and excited by the prospect that they actually went ahead and created an exoskeleton suit that could actually lift them above the ground.
The student, Vimal Govin Manikandan and his team of other engineers revealed that they were originally inspired by the Avatar and Iron Man when they decided to build this cool looking exoskeleton. They had a really tight budget, US $750 to be exact but still they somehow managed to create this amazing looking suit; though it will not be wrong to say that it still has a lot of room for improvement.
The suit with all its low budget gadgets and materials is still able to lift up an impressive 300 lbs (about 130 kg) which makes it an amazing feat for engineering students. The suit is able to generate its propulsion power using actuated cylinders that are connected to battery powered pressure switches. These pressure switches are then used to determine the movement and act accordingly.
While you can praise the students for their commitment and boldness in taking up this project, it has to be said that the suit is far from being truly functional. It is quite bulky (round about 100 kg) and the movements are also not very precise. The driver of the suit needs to take slow steps in order to avoid toppling, which makes it far from being truly autonomous.
While these Indian students are working on improving the prototype, they want this to be ultimately produced for the military. Similar concepts are being worked by many military technology based universities. One example would be of Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS), which is currently in development by the US military. TALOS is truly a wonder of modern day engineering, which blurs the quickly fading lines between human and machine, and is expanding the capabilities of humans to an unprecedented degree.
If this rate of robotic technological development continues, we will surely see the dawn of a new and exciting chapter of super humans and super machines in our near history.