In later Iron Man movies, Tony Stark's impressive weaponised suits are superheroes in their own right. Even without Stark's involvement, the technology can be used to automatically help in dangerous situations. What if we had our own version of that technology? Well, a one Italian scientist is attempting what we've all been thinking.
Iron Man robot in development by Italian scientist
Reported by Engadget, an Italian scientist are working on robots that have Iron Man style thrusters on its arms and legs. The team believes that the technology could be a useful addition to the arsenal of first responders.
For example, if a fire is raging, the robot could fly over to the location and possibly save lives before firefighters would be in the area. While it seems unlikely that the robot could actually start fighting fires, it might be able to help individuals escape an area.
Additionally, much like other robots, the Iron Man style device could help in rescuing civilians in critical areas. For example, a fallen building could trap individuals underneath rubble. This robot could quickly fly to a location and survey its structural integrity, helping rescuers to save people.
Creating the robot
The current version of the robot is envisioned by Italian scientist Daniele Pucci. Pucci’s vision is based around a simple iRonCub synthetic humanoid. The difference: they've been equipped with a fully functioning jetpack.
The jetpack is meant to combat the issues of traditional humanoid robots. As we've already seen, militaries are looking to use robotic quadrupeds in disaster situations as they're more reliable in dangerous environments. However, with the addition of a jetpack, the Iron Man/Astro Boy robot can fly in and out.
"Aerial humanoid robotics extends aerial manipulation to a more robust and energy efficient level," Pucci said to IEEE Spectrum. "The extra hand of a flying humanoid robot could establish a contact point between the robot and the environment, thus making the robot position control simpler and more robust.”
It will help create flying exoskeleton
The Iron Man robot is being pushed as the first step towards creating a wearable Iron Man suit. Pucci believes that fully creating a useful flying humanoid robot will help engineers understand how to make wearable exoskeletons.
I truly believe that aerial humanoid robotics can be used as a test-bed for actuated flying exoskeletons for human beings," Pucci explained. "The recent successful story of Richard Browning shows the engineering feasibility of these futuristic actuated exoskeletons. However, the journey in front of us is still long, and we can use flying humanoid robots to boost this journey and avoid lots of tests on humans."