Long over due update

Posted in Uncategorized on November 15, 2014 by theskepticalsamurai

Greetings!

I have said it before and I will say it again, I have not forgotten about this blog.  I am sure that is seems that I have since the last real post (other then an update promising that I will resume regular posts soon!  haha) was some time ago.  But I can assure you, I have not forgotten about this blog.

I must admit that I humbled by the amount of comments and emails that I still get related to the blog and past posts.

Similar to my previous mini update, the blog is currently on the back burner.  Medical school is extremely demanding and does not leave one with a lot of free time.  I am currently in the process of finishing my last year of medical school (clerkship) and am on track to finish/graduate with the Class of 2015.  After graduating, I will be entering the next phase of my training, residency (I am currently in the process of finalizing and submitting my application).

I have been slowly working on the next phase of this blog as well and my next big venture, podcasting.  Many exciting things to come and I am grateful to each and everyone of you that takes the time to read this blog.

This has been the skeptical samurai…

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…

Mini Update

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2014 by theskepticalsamurai

Greetings!

I have not forgotten about this blog.  I am sure that is seems that i have since the last real post (other then an update promising that i will resume regular posts soon!  haha) was some time ago.  But i can assume you, i have not forgotten about this blog.  

I read all of the comments/mail that i get regarding my past posts (large amount of rather amusing grammar police related comments lately) and do my best to answer them all.  It is especially fun to respond to those who accuse me of being part of some large conspiracy or on the payroll of BIG pharma/food/governemnt/etc.  

Long story short is that this blog has taken a back seat to school.  As i have posted previously i got into medical school back in the summer of 2012.  Things have been going very well and i am about to enter my last year of studies (far from finished though as after i complete medical school i still have a residency to complete), and as if often the case with education/studies, some things in life have to go onto the back burner for a period of time.  

But i promise you i have not forgotten about this blog.  

I still have many plans for it (and the much awaited podcast that had been in the works for some time) so please stay tuned and check in every now and then to catch up with your old pal the Skeptical Samurai.  And with that i big you farewell (for now).

this has been the skeptical samurai

working to serve 

through the process of inquiry 

2012 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2013 by theskepticalsamurai

Thought that i would post this up.

The blog has been a bit dormant as of late as a result of being SUPER busy with school (current about half way done my 1st year of medical school).  It has taken some work, but I have managed to find a nice balance between school and everything else these in life that requires my attention.  With that in mind i intend on getting the blog back up in running and i am also working on finally getting the long promised podcast running as well.

I hope that this message find you and yours well and i look forward hitting it hard in 2013!

this has been the skeptical samurai

working to serve…

through the process of inquiry…

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

The Cost of Being Iron Man

Posted in Skeptical Samurai's Guide to Comic Books, skepticism with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2012 by theskepticalsamurai

Greetings loyal readers of the Skeptical Samurai Blog!

Oh how I have missed you!

It has been a busy couple of weeks on the Skeptical Samurai front!  Just in the process of wrapping up some of the finishing touches on our new home so that we can actually begin the process of physically moving into our new accommodations.  Exciting!

Also of note, I officially started medical school this week.  Technically, I started last week, but it was all orientation so no actual lectures/classes.  This week marked the official start of classes and diving into the course material.

Suffice to say (as I am sure some of you have noticed) the blog has suffered a bit (in that there have not been as many posts).  Don’t worry; I have not forgotten about you or the blog, it is just that there are only so many hours in a day!

Sadly I have no ground breaking investigations for you this week, but fear not, as I am hard at work on another segment of “The Skeptical Samurai’s guide to Comic Books”.  I will give you a little hint…

Additionally I am also hard at work at converting the blog into a full-fledged podcast!

So free not dear readers…there is still much to be expected from your good friend the Skeptical Samurai

In the mean time I thought that you might find the following link interesting.  I really enjoyed it and I thought that it would make a nice addendum to the “Skeptical Samurai guide to comic books: Iron Man edition” that I did a while back (here is a link to the original blog posts:  http://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/the-skeptical-samurais-guide-to-comic-books-iron-man-part-4/).  This serves as a “real world” cost analysis of what it would actually take to be Iron Man.  Granted this article goes into both Iron Man and Tony Stark (and his life style) but I certainly does a bring an element of realism to the notion of what it would cost to become an Iron Man type super-hero.

Enjoy! (click to enlarge)

This has been the skeptical samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…

Skeptical Samurai Update!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 by theskepticalsamurai

Hello all!

Just wanted to take this opportunity to give all of my readers a quick update regarding some recent happenings in the Skeptical Samurai camp (and attempt to explain the lack of recent of posts and activity on the blog).

Firstly (and most importantly) i got into medical school!  Those of you who know me personally know that i applied to medical school this year.  It was a rather long, time consuming and difficult process (but i must add, TOTALLY WORTH IT!), but the end result was that i have been accepted to medical school at the University of Calgary for the graduating class of 2015.  I am honoured to have been offered a spot in the graduating class of 2015 and i excited to begin the journey to becoming a physician!

Secondly, acceptance into medical school meant/required that me and my family relocate.  So the wife and i pack up our things and our two crazy bulldogs and left New Russia (Manitoba) and headed out to our new home in Cow Town (Alberta).  We are currently in the process of renovating and settling into our new home, so this has taken up pretty much all of my time over the last month or so.

And last (but certainly not least), i have been working towards developing a Skeptical Samurai blog into a Podcast.  I am in the process of developing ideas and segments for the podcast and i am also in the process of also acquiring the needed equipment to get the podcast up and running.  It is my hope to debut the podcast some time in the next month to month and a half.

So fear not dear readers!

The Skeptical Samurai has not left you!  I am working towards bettering myself as well as advancing and bettering this blog!  Thanks for reading…and please stay tuned…the future is going to be exciting!

this has been the Skeptical Samurai

working to serve…

through the process of inquiry…

The Skeptical Samurai’s Guide to Comic Books: Iron Man, Part 4

Posted in Comic Books, Critical Thinking, science, skepticism with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by theskepticalsamurai

Time for another installment of…

 

The Skeptical Samurai’s Guide to Comic Books!  Featuring: Iron Man: Part 4, The Epic Conclusion!

 

Thanks for tuning in dear reader!  Thus far we have established the inspiration for this segment of the blog and we have investigated various aspects of the Iron Man armor to determine if any of it is based in reality and if such a suit would even be possible in the “real world”.  To catch up on all of the action check out the original blog post here:

http://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/the-skeptical-samurais-guide-to-comic-books-iron-man/

 

Check out Part #2 here:

http://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/the-skeptical-samurais-guid-to-comic-books-iron-man-part-2/

 

And Check out Part #3 here:

http://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/the-skeptical-samurais-guide-to-comic-books-iron-man-part-3/

 

So what is left for us to talk about?  Well, weapons and offensive capabilities of course! I have left the proverbial best for last!  I mean what fun is the Iron Man armor if we cannot blow stuff up (NOTE: the Skeptical Samurai does not condone and/or support the random blowing up of stuff).  Anyone even remotely familiar with the Iron Man armor is well aware of its many tactical capabilities.  So where do we even start!?  Good question, might I suggest that we begin with the relatively straightforward and then move toward the more fantastic.

 

For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on the following components of the Iron Man arsenal: guns, missiles and the almighty repulsors.  I realize that the Iron Man armor has many more items in its arsenal, but for the sake of simplicity (and the fact that these weapon systems are the ones that most people will be familiar with) we are going focus on these weapon systems.

 

And with that, now onto the epic conclusion to The Skeptical Samurai’s Guide to Comic Books: Iron Man Edition!

 

But…

 

Before we get into the offensive capabilities of the Iron Man armor, we must first discuss Iron Man’s defensive capabilities.

 

Defensive Capabilities!?  But you promised us the good stuff!  And what on earth does Iron Man need defensive capabilities for!?  I mean, he is Iron Man! 

 

Someone much greater then me once said, the best defense is a good offense.  Well that statement most definitely has merit, our Iron Man armor can have all of the offensive capabilities in the world, but if it susceptible to even the most basic of attacks, then it is not going to matter what the suit is capable of.

 

Alright…so defensive capabilities are important. Which of the Iron Man defenses are based in reality and which are based in fiction?

 

The majority of Iron Man’s defensive capabilities are actually grounded in reality.  As we have already established in previous blog posts, the Iron Man armor will be constructed out of a variety of insanely strong materials.  Consequently, physical damage to the suit will be at a minimum.  However, if and when the suit is exposed to some sort of direct impact we need to be concerned about possible injury to our user.  Allow me to explain.

 

Think of a high-speed car accident (I know not the most pleasant thing in the world, but stick with me).  Often times it is not the trauma of the actual car accident that kills the driver.  Instead it is the acceleration/deceleration forces experienced by the driver that result in death.  A subtle difference, but a difference none the less.  Think of all of the force generated by a car accident.  All of that force has to go somewhere.  Modern vehicles have been designed to channel that force away from the driver (with technology such as airbags and the manner in which the front of a car crumples).  However, often times (especially at excessively high speeds or in older vehicles) it is simply not possible to channel this force in a safe direction.

 

Acceleration/deceleration forces can easily damage the soft tissues that make up blood vessels walls.  Specifically, these types of forces can easily damage blood vessels such as the aorta (which is arguably the most important artery in the body as it pumps fleshly oxygenated blood out of the heart to the rest of the body).

 

 

Damage to the aorta will result in blood spilling out into the extra vascular space (instead of being pumped into the intravascular space where it is supposed to be) and can very quickly result in death (in talking within a matter of minutes).

 

Relating this to our Iron Man armor, an impact with enough force may not cause damage to the external panels of the armor, but it could potentially kill our user, which is simply not acceptable.  So with the above information in mind, we are going to need to develop some sort of additional protection in order to ensure the safety of our user.

 

Unfortunately, it is not going to be as straightforward as simply lining our armor with a bunch of extra foam padding.  Why you ask?  Well, materials such as foam are compressible and while they may be capable of deflecting the force of a relatively minor impact, any type of force over a certain threshold will simply “pass through” the foam (or any type of compressible substance) and harm (or even kill) our user.  What we require is some sort of non-Newtonian fluid.  That is, we need a fluid that is capable of changing its “behavior” depending on the type/amount of force that acts on it

 

I know what you are thinking…

 

“Non-Newtonian fluid!?  I thought that we where going to stay about from fictitious explanations in our pursuit to build real life Iron Man armor!”  Fear not dear reader, as promised we are going to keep the explanations grounded in reality.  Check out this video clip (fast forward to 02:05 if you do not want to watch the whole video)

 

 

It turns out all that needs to be done is to mix water and corn starch and we have ourselves a non-Newtonian fluid!  As demonstrated in the above video, a mixture of water and cornstarch creates a non-Newtonian fluid that changes its proverbial behavior when a force is acted upon it. This substance will remain a liquid at rest and will become a solid (for lack of a better description) when a force is acted upon it.  It is this property that will ensure that when our Iron Man armor is exposed to a significant force (say like a blast from a tank), that our user will not be fatally injured.

 

This extra layer of protection could be added in contained bladders located between the armor panels and our users skin (no actual bladders pictured here, just a reference for where the bladders would be placed on the user in relation to the armor)

 

 

Additionally, the non-Newtonian fluid could simply be pored into the suit.  The fluid would not be as contained as the above example with the bladders so this option would be a bit messier but would provide the best protection to the user as there would be gaps that could potentially lead to injury.  The following picture gives you a bit of an idea of what this might look like (notice that Tony Stark, pictured here in the “Ultimate Universe”, appears to be covered in a fluid of sorts)

 

 

However, I think that it is safe to assume that we are not just going to allow our Iron Man armor to just eat impact after impact from missile and other types of projectiles.  We are going to want to avoid impact/damage from aggressor’s weapons when possible…

 

So how are we going to do that?

 

Again, the answer is actually pretty straightforward.  As previously discussed the Iron Man armor will be capable of moving at incredible speeds.  Additionally, it will also be extremely agile and capable of maneuvers simple beyond the capabilities of most (if not all) aircraft and weapons systems.  Consequently, it will be relatively easy for our Iron Man armor to out maneuver the vast majority of the obstacles that it might encounter.

 

But what about those situations where our Iron Man armor is engaging multiple projectiles from hostile targets?  Or what about weapons systems that utilize heat seeking/infrared technology.  These types of projectiles (as well as the possibility of multiple projectiles) are notoriously difficult to deal with and can be extremely difficult to loss once they have locked onto a target.  So, how do we expect our Iron Man armor to deal with this threat?

 

With flares (of course!)

 

Now I am not talking about road flares (although in all honesty, standard issue road flares would most likely do the trick), but instead weapons great flares (as pictured here being deployed by a military plane)

 

 

Or as deployed by Iron Man in the following clip

 

 

These types of flares typically contain/burn a substance such as magnesium.  This allows them to ignite and burn hot/bright enough that they are able to “trick” most target and chase types of weapons systems.  A relatively simple solution to our problem, but a solution nonetheless!

 

Alright, Alright!  We need defenses, I get it, and on that point I must concede, but can we PLEASE PLEASE talk about Iron Man’s weapons systems and offensive capabilities!?

 

Well I guess that I have made you wait long enough, so ask and you shall receive!

Let us start with the small (and more plausible) and work our way up from there.  Let us start with small arms/guns.

 

Check this image out (I know, I know, its War Machine, but you get the idea)

 

 

Looks pretty badass right!?  This type of tech would actually not be all that difficult to design and produce.  Essentially what we have is a cartridge (a bullet loaded into a casing containing a propellant which is ignited by a primer), which is loaded into a short barrel.  Pretty simple right!?  All we need in order to make this system function is a means of launching the projectile forward.  This could be easily achieved by utilizing a contained/concealed striker fire system, which is the same firing system as seen on any standard issue Glock pistol

 

 

I know what your thinking, how are we going to activate and aim this striker fire system? Well with Jarvis (our on board computer system) of course!  Given the complexity of our on board computer system (as discussed in previous blog posts) aiming and activating the striker fire system will be a relatively straightforward task.

 

In addition to the more traditional striker fired/cartridge system, the Iron Man armor also utilizes missile technology.

 

 

 

Again, pretty badass right!?  It is quite a sight to watch Iron Man deploy these relatively tiny missiles and then have them fix in on their targets and cause chaos and destruction.  The astute amongst you will pick up on something of an anomaly in the last sentence, specifically, the use of the term “tiny missiles”.  Allow me to explain, a missile is essentially a rocket with some sort of warhead (or payload) attached to it.  The rocket is what propels the missile in a specified direction and the warhead is what does the damage.  The extent of the damage is determined by the size of the warhead.  Ergo, the bigger the warhead attached to the missile, the more damage that can be done to an intended target.  Let us take a look at the relatively common Sidewinder missile

 

This particular missile has the capability to take out aircraft size targets.  Compare this missile to those ones in the above pictures that deploy from Iron Man’s wrist gauntlets.  Notice anything?  Iron Man’s missiles are relatively TINY in comparison!  Yet somehow Iron Man still manages to take out aircraft and tank sized targets!  How on earth can this be!?  Again, excellent question!

 

For obvious reasons missiles the size of the sidewinder are simply not going to fit on (or within) the Iron Man armor.  Now for small targets (say the size of a medium to large size box) the missiles deployed by Iron Man (in the above pictures) would be sufficient. However, we can assume that our Iron Man armor is going to have to engage hostile targets much larger then a small to medium sized box.  So we are going to have to find a means of making the most of the weapons that we have.  Now we could go with the old argument that Tony Stark has simply equipped the missiles with some sort of super secret destructo technology that only he has access to, but (again) what fun would that be!?

 

So instead of taking the easy way out, let us take a look at plausible options that explain how such a small missile can be effective against such a large target.  A little bit of research quickly uncovers the answer to our query, “Smart” technology.  Now when I say “smart” I am not talking about a missile that is capable of doing your grade school multiplication tables, instead I am talking about a weapon system capable of targeting the weak point of a given target thus inflicting the most amount of damage with the smallest payload.

 

Wait a moment…

 

in order for our missiles to be capable of targeting the weak points of their intended targets, each one is going to require a complex on board computer system, connected to the Iron Man suit,  that is capable of complex calculations (far beyond any high school multiplication tables) ensuring that each missile is capable of hitting the weakest point on its intended target.  Alright, looks like I am going to have to retract the statement regarding a missile capable of doing math!  So the take home message is that by utilizing “smart” technology, we can use the smallest warhead possible, thus making it possible to fit onto/into the Iron Man armor and ensuring that we are able to inflict the maximum amount of damage on even the largest/most well armored target.

 

Enough with the bullets and missiles, Iron man is know for his repulsors!  So, tell me about Repulsors! 

 

Alright!  Are you ready for it!

 

It is time to talk about the almighty Iron Man repulsors!

 

 

So let us get to it!

 

So after combing the Internet and peer reviewed journal after peer-reviewed journal, I have come to the following conclusion regarding the almighty Iron Man repulsors…

 

Sadly, the most iconic weapon system in Iron Man’s arsenal appears to be nothing more then a complete work of fiction.  Based on our current understanding of the natural world, Iron Man’s repulsors are not currently reproducible.  That is not to say that someone will not some day develop a functioning repulsor, but for the time being we are going to have to make without!

 

This has been the Skeptical Samurai….

 

WAIT!  WHAT!?  NOT SO FAST!  No Repulsors, how can that be!?

 

I know!  I know!  I want the repulsors to be real as well!  Sadly, given our current understanding of the natural world, repulsors are simply a technology that is not realistically feasible.

 

But your right, we cannot just leave it at that!  Well I guess that we could, but that is not why you come to the Skeptical Samurai blog now is it?  You come here for logic, reason and explanations.  So with that in mind let us take a look at why implementing repulsor technology into our Iron Man armor is (at this time) simply not possible.

 

Although at first glance Iron Man’s repulsors appear to be based in reality, a closer examination reveals that there are several factors that make their construction (currently) impossible.

 

1)    There appears to be no moving parts.  Although initially this does not seem like a deal breaker, most modern weaponry is based on the principle of some sort of mechanical devise that follows the formula of a charge that ignites a propellant, which then pushes a bullet/payload/warhead toward a target.  Although there is certainly technology in development that differ from this formula, it is still in its infancy and no where near developed to a point that it could be realistically deployed in an exoskeleton suit of armor

2)    The repulsors seem to require no charging time.  Again, most if not all of modern armaments utilize the formula of a mechanical device that hits a charge that ignites a propellant that pushes a bullet/payload/warhead toward a target.  Weapons systems that utilize this formula require reloading.  Weapons that differ from this formula typically require a significant amount of “charging” time in-between each discharge.  Depending on the weapon system that we are talking about this can be minutes to hours.  For reason that I do not need to explain when we are in the middle of a firefight with a rogue scientist utilizing our own technology against us we simply do not have the time to wait minutes (to hours) in order for our repulsors to charge!

3)    The damage that the repulsor inflict upon their intended target appears to be kinetic in nature.  That is, a force is being impacted upon the target (and a massive force at that).  Allow me to clarify, there are three types of damage that a warhead can do: kinetic, thermal and chemical.  The damage done by the repulsors does not appear to be thermal in nature, so this rules out the possibility that the repulsors are simply some sort of supped up flamethrower.  The damage done also does not appear to be chemical in nature, specifically, there is no evidence of a chemical reaction taking place upon the intended target.  So that leaves kinetic damage and for there to be kinetic damage there would also have to be some sort of kinetic energy working on object deploying the weapon system (in addition to the kinetic energy being experience by the intended target) and this is just simply not what we see depicted in the comics.  In the comic books, Iron Man appears to experience little (or even no) recoil when the repulsors are deployed.  This does not leave us with a plausible explanation regarding how the repulsors are causing damage to their intended target.

4)    And the last and final issue (and it is a big one), the repulsors can be used without the rest of the suit.  This would support the conclusion that the repulsors are being powered by something other then the reactor in Tony’s chest.  Given that our explanation for the reactor in Tony’s chest is based yet to be developed technology that does not really leave us with a plausible explanation regarding how the repulsors are being powered.

 

So given the points presented above, as much as it pains me to say it, the only way in which it will be possible for us to create repulsors for our Iron Man armor is with the use of fictitious/non-existent technology (read as: it is not going to happen).

 

And with that we have concluded the epic four part series of “The Skeptical Samurai’s Guide To Comic Books: Iron Man Edition”.

 

So what have we learned?

 

As surprising as it may be, the vast majority of the technology integrated into the comic book version of the Iron Man armor is based in reality.  Although certain aspects are completely fictitious (the repulsors) and others are beyond our current capabilities (the power source in Tony’s Chest) much of what we see is actually grounded in reality and completely within the realm of possibility.  So for all of you out there who had ever wanted to have/build your own suit of Iron Man armor, keep your chins up as there is still hope for you!

 

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this saga of blog posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them!  Please feel free to drop me a line (check the contact page) and suggest which comic book character you would like me to investigate in the future!  And please stay tuned as there are some exciting things in the works!  Until next time…

 

This has been the skeptical samurai

 

Working to serve…

 

Through the process of inquiry…

 

 

 

 

 

The Skeptical Samurai’s Guide to Comic Books: Iron Man: Part 3

Posted in Comic Books, science, Skeptical Samurai's Guide to Comic Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2012 by theskepticalsamurai

Time for another installment of…

The Skeptical Samurai’s Guide to Comic Books!  Featuring: Iron Man (Part 3)

Alright, so we have hashed out the inspiration for this segment of the blog and we have begun the process of determining whether or not Iron Man could potentially exist in the real world.  To catch up on all of the action check out the original blog post here:

http://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/the-skeptical-samurais-guide-to-comic-books-iron-man/

And also check out Part #2 here:

http://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/the-skeptical-samurais-guid-to-comic-books-iron-man-part-2/

But we are far from done dear reader, so buckle up!  It is going to be an exciting ride!

Alright, so we have managed to get power to our Iron Man suit and get it up and running, but how are we going to move the darn thing!?

Even if we use an insanely light metal the Iron Man armor is still going to be VERY heavy.  Consequently, it is not realistic to think that we are simply going to strap it on and wear it like a set of hockey equipment.  This actually raises and interesting point, the Iron Man armor is not simply armor.  Although the name would have you believe it, you cannot simply just expect the user to strap it on and utilize his/her own strength in order to operate it.  Instead, the Iron Man armor will require a complex set of internal components in order for it to enhance the abilities of its user.  With this in mind, the Iron Man armor can more correctly be thought of as an exo-skeleton (but for the sake of this post we will continue to refer to it as armor).

Let us compare the skeletal system of the human body to the Iron Man armor.  Similar to the plates of armor that make of the Iron Man suit, the skeleton is responsible for providing protection and structure.  The skeleton however is not responsible for movement and articulation.  Instead this is the responsibility of muscles, tendons and ligaments.  These are the structures that allow the human body to perform both fine and gross motors skills.  With this in mind, we will require some sort of complex internal mechanisms in order to give our Iron Man armor the ability to move as well as perform both fine and gross motor skills.  Surprisingly, we do not require anything amazingly fancy in order to make this happen.  A complex system of gears and hydraulics would more then fit the bill.

However, when we take in account how complex the operation of such a system would be, that raises the obvious question, how on earth can we expect the user to run all of these systems?  Is the user going to be expected to operate each and every little gear in order to make the armor function?

The answer to that question, dear reader is a resounding, no.

Well then who is going to run all of these complex internal structures!? 

That answer to that question is not “who”…

But instead “what” is going to run all of these complex internal structures.  Fear not dear reader, the answer is coming!

Okay, so keeping the suit upright is not going to be a problem, but how on earth are we going to keep the Iron Man suit stable during flight!?

Alright, let us forget about the Iron Man armor for a moment.  When you think of flying, what comes to mind?  First thing that comes to my mind is a commercial airplane.

Fixed winged aircrafts are naturally stable.  All things being equal, a commercial fixed winged aircraft (read as: a plane) is designed to fly in a reasonably straight path over a given trajectory.

Now I realize that things are actually more complicated then that, but for the sake of argument we are going to assume that a fixed winged aircraft is an inherently straight forward design.  Once we lose the fixed wings, things immediately become more complicated.  So the commercial airplane is not the best comparison for our Iron Man armor.

Thinking of aircraft on a spectrum (the commercial airplane on one end and the Iron Man armor on the other) what would come next?  I would suggest a commercial helicopter.

We have sacrificed the relative stability of the fixed wing for a rotary blade.  While obviously not impossible to fly (I mean if you look outside your window long enough you will eventually see one of these things flying by) the helicopter is inherently more difficult to control (although this is still up for debate amongst the aviation community), but makes up for this increase difficulty with increased maneuverability.  We are getting closer, but we are still a ways off for a comparison for our Iron Man armor.

What about a fighter jet!?  Say something like the F22 Raptor.

Insanely fast and capable of feats simply beyond that of a regular commercial airliner or helicopter.  The F22 Raptor has capabilities similar to those that will be required of our Iron Man armor (granted in somewhat of a bigger package).  This particular fighter jet is meant to push the limits of what an aircraft is capable of.  AH HA!  I think we have a winner!  Alright so why have I taken the time to make this comparison…keep reading and find out!

Upon closer examination of the F22 Raptor one thing immediately becomes clear.  The operator is not “in charge” of each and every aspect of the aircraft.  Now please do not misunderstand me, it as not as if the plane has become self-aware (cool example: Skynet in the Terminator franchise, bad example: the plane in the movie Stealth).  Instead the operator is in charge of things on a macroscopic level, speed, direction, etc.  The plane (or more specifically the on board computer systems) is responsible for the figurative (and sometimes literal) microscopic processes that make these things happen.   The aircraft is simply far too complex and the only way to make it function is with the assistance of on board computers.  We can assume that the Iron Man armor is going to be several orders of magnitude more complex then the F22 Raptor so we will have no choice but to utilize an on board computer system in order to optimize the armor, otherwise we are just going to have a really expensive paper weight on our hands!

So how exactly are computers going to help operate the Iron Man armor?  I mean, do we really need them?

The short answer to that question is, yes, we do need them.

The long answer to that question is…yes we really do need them!  Remember we are not talking about the original Iron Man armor that Tony Stark used to escape from his terrorist captors.  If we were trying to build that particular version of the armor we could potentially get away without an on board computer system.  Instead, we are trying to build the much more advanced Mach V through VII version.  If we want to build that, we NEED an on board computer system!

In the comics Iron Man has an insanely complex on board computer/tech system.  This on board system is what allows the Tony Stark to mobilize in the Iron Man armor as well as fly through the sky.  In the movies this on board computer system is referred to as Jarvis (to the comic book nerds amongst us, this is a tip of the hat to Tony Stark’s fictitious human butler named Jarvis who serves as Tony’s confident and partner in crime).  Jarvis is an on board/interaction computer system that is responsible for making all of the needed second to second calculations and corrections required to keep the Iron Man armor upright and mobile as well as enable it to sore through the sky.

Remember all of those internal gear pictures above.  Jarvis is going to be responsible for making all of those gears function.  What about all of those panels/flaps seen articulating over the surface of the Iron Man armor?

Similar to the fighter jet, adjustments and movements of these panels are what are going to make the Iron Man armor capable of performing fantastic feats.  In addition to these panels the Iron Man armor is also equipped with repulsors (located in the palms of the armor).

Well also capable of acting as an offensive weapon (more on that later) these repulsors can also be used as another means of controlling and stabilizing the Iron Man armor, specifically while in flight.

Now if we did not require our Iron Man armor to move smoothly or perform amazingly aerial maneuvers we could more likely leave the control of the panels and the internal gears, panels/flaps and repulsors with the operator.  However, seeing as we are going to require A LOT more out of the Iron Man armor, it is simply unrealistic to expect our operator to make all of the needed calculations and associated adjustments.  But fear not dear reader!  The dream of a real life suit of Iron Man armor is not dead yet!  Given the capabilities of modern computers (and their continued advancement) it is completely realistic to expect that a compact system could be designed and inserted into the Iron Man armor to assist the operator with operating it.  With the help of Jarvis we will be able to operate the armor and not only keep it upright, but have it perform feats previously not thought possible!

Well that is it for Part 3!

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to this epic Iron Man saga!

This has been the Skeptical Samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…

 

 

 

 

 

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