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Manufacturing Iron Man

Footage of the upcoming film “Iron Man 3” recently surfaced at Comic-Con. And some of the technology used in the new production — and also used to film the movie — could one day make an Iron Man Suit a reality. Naturally, this same technology will likely be integrated into cutting-edge manufacturing processes in the future.

The team at Dream It Do It knows firsthand the amazing technology that drives modern manufacturing, and the idea of creating a real life Iron Man suit is closer than one might think. With that in mind, below are some real world examples of Iron Man-like technology in action.

Exoskeletons

The inventor of the Steadicam is applying the same concept to manufacturing and founded the company Equipois. Steadicam shots are frequently used in movies and require a great amount of skill and strength from the operator. The Steadicam rig is constructed to ease the burden of carrying a heavy film camera to allow for fluid motion of a camera as he walks.

The mechanical arms developed by Equipois do much of the same. The company’s mechanical arms take the load off of the user’s  frame, allowing them to lift heavy objects with ease, or do repetitive motions with reduced risk of injury. Manufacturing uses for the Zero G — the mechanical arm developed by Equipois — include aerospace, foundry, automotive, mining and metal fabrication and many others.

3D printing

3D printing technology will become more integral to manufacturing processes in the future. It’s possible that 3D technology could one day even be used to manufacture an Iron Man suit, or at least models and prototypes for one. The Objet 3D Printer was used to create the gloves that actor Robert Downey Jr. used for the second Iron Man movie. The original gloves were uncomfortable for the actor, but with “Iron Man 2,” the studio scanned the actor’s hands and printed gloves no thicker than a dime for the actor to wear.

Artificial intelligence

In the Iron Man movies, Tony Stark is aided by Jarvis, the AI (artificial intelligence) of both his suit and home. Artificial intelligence has made leaps and bounds in recent years. One of the more publicized advances in AI computing was IBM’s Watson. More than just a Jeopardy champion, Watson now helps doctors diagnose cancer. Some experts believe that the same artificial intelligence could be used in the manufacturing fields to help return America to a manufacturing powerhouse.

It’s hard to guess if manufacturers will one day be rolling out super suits akin to Iron Man’s, but it is easy to see the many subtle ways that technology from the Hollywood film is currently integrated into manufacturing, and how it will further be integrated in the future.

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