Hold onto your seats Marvel fans and tech enthusiasts. Before you know it, a real-life “Iron Man” suit will be on the market — and yes, it can fly. Developed by Richard Browning, the co-founder of start-up company Gravity, the jet engine-powered flying suit was designed to “re-imagine manned flight.” With two arm-mounted engines that weigh up to 90 pounds and a temperature threshold of 700°C (1292°F), the highly-anticipated invention will also feature wings. And did we mention it will be 3D-printed?
The Gravity jet engine-powered flying suit was unveiled at Comic-Con in San Diego, CA, where Browning dished details to Tested’s Adam Savage. The newest version of the suit is comprised of four arm-loaded thrusters and an additional jet pack that is strapped to the user’s back. As noted above, two engine arm configurations can reach temperatures of 700°C (1292°F).
3D Printing Industry reports that if handled responsibly, the rockets aren’t as dangerous as they first might seem. This is because the heat is quickly dispersed by the air which, in turn, reduces the risk of one’s boots or sneakers catching on fire.
Browning explained that the movement of the suit is controlled by a very “intuitive” system. For instance, minor movements of the arms determine the direction and height by altering the jet’s vector. It helps that a DAQRI augmented reality (AR) helmet with a heads-up display is connected. Not only does the AR helmet monitor the suit’s performance, it shows the data of speed and altitude in real-time, eliminating the need to check one’s wrist.
Browning flew the suit at Comic-Con, wowing comic fans and technology entrepreneurs. He was reportedly able to fly at a speed up to 45/50 mph. Right now, between seven and eight different versions of the suit are in development; modifications will affect the functionality and appearance of the suit. “We are working on a whole bunch of adaptations with the manufacturer,” said Browning “to make [the engines] much more fit for what we’re now using them for, because clearly they weren’t designed for this.”
The most exciting part of the next-generation suit is that it will be 3D-printed and will feature temperature proof, one-piece aluminum housing for the thrusters. Because the control modules are in need of improvements, the engine configuration will also be changed. Finally, wings will be added to the suit to change the pattern of flight from vertical to airfoil. I’m quite excited about that, Browning said. “We’ve fully CADed up a beautiful, organic inspired housing, and that’s being 3D printed now.”
No further information has yet been obtained about the potential cost or release date of the real-life Iron Man suit. However, in the past, Browning informed interested buyers that a custom-built suit should cost approximately $250,000.