Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Science or Science Fiction?

Welcome back to the world of Science Fiction becoming a reality!

Before I begin, I would like to formally apologise for the tardiness of this blog, and unexpected arrival of a niece threw my scientific mind out the door briefly.

In my last blog, I discussed the real world applications and possibility of the Lightsabre. I will be following this theme with a piece of Science Fiction Technology that many recognise and would love to be a reality;

The Iron-Man Armour!

Yes it’s time to go into the world of superheroes and billionaires playboys, such as Tony Stark, the creator of the Iron-Man armour and the arc reactor ‘battery’ that powers the suit.

Lets take a look at the engineering of the armour. The first piece of technology that Tony Stark developed for the suit was the jet-repulsor tech that enables the suit to fly. These jets allow Tony to fly for thousands of kilometres at super-sonic speeds. Already, we are presented with a problem. Research presented by science writer Matt Shipman from the university of North Carolina State, the technology that would be required to produce these ‘rocket boots’ is theoretically possible, but not at this small size, at least not in the present time.


Sourced from MARVEL Entertainment’s ‘IronMan’

The second piece of the suit of armour that Tony Stark creates is the repulsor discs that helps stabilize flight and can be used as a weapon, forming an electric-plasma beam when fired. Assuming that somehow the flight boots were one day created, the repulsors are actually a possible ‘tick’ for this science fiction armour becoming a reality. Scientists around the world are developing repulsor style technology and believe that they are close to producing a similar technology to that seen in the movies. The fact is though, to this day, no one has yet produced a true replica of Tony’s design that can actually repel and fit literally in the palm of your hand.

Sourced from MARVEL Entertainment’s ‘IronMan’

The third crucial design that is required for Iron Man’s armour is the artificial intelligence that follows the commands of Mr. Stark and can control the suits, research internet resources and complete many more functions. In the movies, the artificial intelligence is called ‘JARVIS’. The armour requires this artificial intelligence to operate as the wearer cannot control all functions occurring in the suit from the helmet, so the artificial intelligence allows for hands free operation while the wearer can focus on external stimuli. Matt Shipman states in his research that science is decades away from producing an artificial mind that can function at this level and be this close to human intelligence.

Despite the fact that there is no way that a person could build the rocket boots, repulsors and have the artificial intelligence to control the suit (yet!), I cannot say that there will NEVER be an Iron Man suit. All I can say for sure is that comic book lovers and dreamers may have to suffice with just cosplay for now. Who knows, maybe our great grandchildren will be rocketing around in suits of armour. Only time can tell if the Iron Man armour is Science or Science Fiction.

Whilst the Iron Man armour could provide great possibilities for the immobile or paraplegic, the problem is, having walking arsenals of weaponry that are powered by a nuclear-type reactor source that can fly anywhere in the world could produce some very dangerous situations, and for the time being, I believe it best that we don’t have the armour.

Join me in my next blog for my final research, I will be looking at the possibility of everybody’s favourite time travelling DeLorean. Thanks for reading.

Will Harris.


-‘Iron Man’, Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures, 2008, America.

-Shipman, Mark, ”Iron Man’ Technique Could Be Key to Future of Materials Science’, Live Science, aPRIL 2013, North Carolina, America.


2 comments on “Science or Science Fiction?

  1. kirstyleemcnamara
    May 7, 2016

    It’s crazy to think that technology has come as far as it has, I mean people thought the phone in a shoe from the movie Get Smart was a wildly far-fetched idea and yet almost everyone now owns a mobile phone, and not only owns one but relies heavily on them. So who knows where technology will be in 50 or even 10 years time. The movie Back to the Future is a perfect perspective on how technology is advancing, there are so many ideas in that film which when created were considered myths and science fiction, for example the hover board. I don’t believe there are yet any wireless versions, however, jetpacks have been made reality.

    I guess you have to stop and think about when to stop though, I mean all these inventions are amazing, but how beneficial would an Iron Man suit actually be. Sure, the technology would be a game changer when applied to planes and space tech, however, do you think an actual Iron Man suit would be a good invention to be able to own or would it simply cause chaos? I am interested to see where all this research leads though.


  2. j4ck3l
    May 8, 2016

    Thanks for the post, nice to read articles relating current pop culture to science and analyse the legitimacy of the ideas they present. A bit surprised you didn’t (only mentioned) talk about the power source for the Iron Man suit and where modern technology is in regards to that. Technology is always making great strides and overcoming hurdles at an alarming rate. Maybe one day it will be commonplace to have something similar to Iron Man’s suit!
    I would’ve liked to have seen more about the pilot themselves. There would be no shortage of problems that need addressing; the g-force, comfort and safety of the pilot etc. Of course Iron Man is science fiction but it astounds me how many hits Tony Stark can take (basing this off the movies) yet it’s almost all absorbed and dissipated by the suit, leaving him unharmed.
    Anyway, thank you again for the in-depth scientific look at the topic. It could’ve been a very short ‘No.’ to the realistic legitimacy of Iron Man’s existence.


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This entry was posted on May 7, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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