While Iron Man remains a popular choice among cosplayers at conventions, few fans have gone to the lengths of British inventor and Royal Marine Reserve Richard Browning has to create a fully functional flying super-suit that would impress Tony Stark.
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Named The Daedalus Suit by Browning’s 8-year-old son, a reference to the Greek myth of Icarus, the specially designed exoskeleton houses six miniature jet engines and features a helmet with a heads-up fuel display – a key component, as the suit only carries enough fuel for 10 minutes of stable flight.
Browning’s suit has already become a YouTube hit and wowed the crowds at the TED conference in Vancouver.
Just like the armored Avenger, the Daedalus Suit takes off vertically, and requires its pilot to use his arms steer the flight. But while it’s capable of flying at speeds of 200 mph (321 km/h) and an altitude of a few thousand feet, its designer usually keeps his speed and altitude low for safety reasons.
Browning is continuing to develop the technology behind the suit as part of his start-up Gravity, and already has interest from a variety of investors as well as the U.K. military. While it may not become part of people’s daily commute anytime soon, it may has a future as a piece of leisure equipment. “I think of it as a bit like a jet ski, a bit of fun or a indulgent toy,” Browning told BBC News, “but I do have a hunch that stuff will come along to make it more practical.”
If Gravity really does succeed in developing the suit into a consumer product, we may eventually see some really impressive Iron Man cosplay in the not-too-distant future.
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