Sci-fi films have been predicting the future for a long time now, and while many inventions on screen seem too far-fetched, every so often one of them would inspire a scientist to create something spectacular. An Indian student, Vimal Govind Manikandan, did exactly that with the iconic Iron Man suit featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The final year Mechanical engineering student of Calicult University in Kerala has successfully built a fully-functional wearable suit, which bears resemblance to billionaire playboy Tony Stark's multifunctional red suit. The prototype suit, which weighs about 100 kg can lift up to 150 kg, without any effort from the part of the wearer. This is accomplished by the battery-powered pressurised air chambers within the suit.
Manikandan, who has high hopes for the suit, explains, "Actually the future of this product [is] mainly in defence, industrial weightlifting, material handling, etc." However, as of now, its weight makes it difficult for the wearer to walk and run.
These issues will be rectified soon, because Manikandan and his team are working to improve the exoskeleton, which was made with less than Rs. 50,000 ($750). Manikandan is no novice to superhero suits, having created one a while back as well. The first suit was mechanically powered and did not bear much resemblance to any mainstream superheroes.
Despite its similarity to the Iron Man suit, Manikandan was inspired by many superhero films while making his prototype, especially "Avatar."