Are you a fan of comic or movies? Well, then you definitely know who Iron Man is. My guess is most of you have fantasized, even for just a minute, of what it would be like to actually have a suit that can make you fly. Well, the dream is about to become a reality.
Richard Browning, the co-founder of the start-up company Gravity which has also been dubbed as the ‘Real-Life Iron Man,’ in collaboration with a team in the UK, has currently developed a flying suit that has been designed to re-envision manned flight.
The flying suit by Gravity is made up of four arms loaded thrusters (2 in each arm) that weigh up to 90 pounds and have a temperature threshold of 700 degrees Celsius, and an extra jet pack strapped securely on the back of the pilot.
The pilot also carries in a backpack fuel and the suit is expected to feature wings for better control. Although each rocket is capable of reaching very extreme temperatures, the air can quickly disperse the heat thereby avoiding any risk of fire during liftoff. The 3D Printing organization says that if managed appropriately, the rockets are not as dangerous as they might seem.
Gravity’s flying suit was first unveiled at Comic-con in San Diego, where Browning gave a few details about it to Adam Savage. He explained that the suit has been designed very intuitively by minimal arm movements which determine height and direction by altering the Jet’s vector.
A DAQRI AR helmet is also featured with the suit which has a heads-up display that provides real-time information concerning the pilot’s altitude and speed thereby eliminating the need of a wrist-mounted reader that would most likely become problematic in the long run.
The suit was flown at Comic-con and gained the attention of several comic fans and technology enthusiasts. Browning was reportedly flying at a speed of up to 45 – 50 mph during a grass test. Gravity has approximately 7 – 8 different versions of the flying suit currently in development that will impact both the appearance and functionality of each of them.
Browning also added that they are working with the manufacturer on various adaptations that will make the engines more suited for what they are currently being used for.
The most exciting concept of the flying jet engine-powered suit is that it is going to be 3D printed and its thrusters will also feature one-piece housing made of aluminum that is tamper-proof. The engine configuration is also expected to undergo several modifications as the control modules still need to be improved.
Lastly, wings are also projected to be included in the suit to change from a vertical flight pattern to an airfoil flight mode. Browning said that he is eagerly anticipating these changes as they have an organically inspired housing that is fully CADed up and is currently being 3D printed.
While no additional information concerning the potential cost or release date of the flying suit has been released to the public, Browning had previously informed several interested buyers that such a custom-built suit would cost about $250,000.