Welcome once more dear readers, we’re still in Japan, the home of technological advancement and so this week we figured it would be the perfect opportunity to look at the advancement of a human being through technology.Yep we know we looked at bionics a few weeks ago, but this time instead of looking at tech hidden within the human body, we’re looking at tech outside of the body.So power suits are the order of the day, which means we’re looking at GizmoDuck, the Guyver and the Centurions.Ryan has another date tonight (yes I know, another date.How’s he doing it?)... so with no time to waste, we’d best get going.
WHAT ARE POWER SUITS?
Power suits are enhanced exoskeletons that are designed to be worn by the user to improve their abilities... or basically turn them into badass superheroes!
HANG ON A MINUTE. WHAT ARE EXOSKELETONS?
Ok, think back to when we were in Canada and we looked at Wolverine’s skeleton.Although Wolverine’s skeleton was coated in metal and had a few extra bones, it was practically a regular human skeleton; making it what we men (and women) of science call an endoskeleton.On the flipside are exoskeletons, which are external skeletons most commonly found in the animal kingdom (think cockroaches, crustaceans, tortoises etc).Fossils dating back over 550 million years ago showed examples of exoskeletons and as well as looking pretty cool on the backs of snails and turtles, exoskeletons have a variety of different uses, including protection and sensing.
OH.BUT HUMANS DON’T HAVE EXOSKELETONS, DO THEY?
No, as mentioned above humans have endoskeletons not exoskeletons, but they do make use of different types of artificial exoskeletons for support and protection.One such example would be in orthotics, which in medical terms is the application of orthopaedic devices (like braces) designed to offer support to limbs or the torso.Another example would be armour, which first came into use during the Middle Ages and is still used today as a form of protection (bullet proof vests, bomb disposal suits).However, getting back to what we’re looking at this week, power suits are also exoskeletons.
OK. SO WHO DO THE POWER SUITS BELONG TO AND WHAT CAN THEY DO?
Power suits have helped turn numerous heroes into super beings, including GizmoDuck, The Centurions and Guyver 1.For GizmoDuck a power suit helped turn Fenton Crackshell into a superhero (and a bodyguard for Scrooge McDuck) in the Disney animated TV series DuckTales, after Fenton uttered the phrase ‘blathering blatherskite’ to active the suit.As for The Centurions, they were a team of heroes who appeared in the 1985 animated series of the same name from producers Ruby-Spears.The original team of Centurions (yes there were a couple of other team members later in the series) were Max Ray, Jake Rockwell and Ace McCloud.They wore exo-frames that allowed them to attach a variety of weapons to their bodies after shouting the phrase ‘power extreme’, in order to help them fight the evil Doc Terror.Finally Guyver-1 first appeared in the manga series The Guyver in 1985 written by Yoshiki Takaya, where high school student Sho Fukamachi merged with a symbiotic bio-mechanism that made him virtually indestructible.Sho was known as Guyver-1 as there were a number of people who wore similar Guyver suits and he used the abilities that came with the suit (including super-strength, speed, weapons etc) to battle the evil Kronos Corporation.All of the power suits belonging to the heroes above differed in design and application as the Guyver suits replaced body parts (yes, body parts) of the host that were damaged, where as the suits the Centurions wore gave them external weapons that could be removed with no danger to the wearer.
SO ONCE AGAIN I HAVE TO ASK, DO POWER SUITS ACTUALLY EXIST IN THE REAL WORLD?
Yes.Yes they do. Power suits exist (as mentioned before) as exoskeletons and the first one, called Hardiman, was made in the 1960s by General Electric and the US military.Unfortunately it failed to take off as it suffered from problems with its movement and it was just too darn heavy, but more recently other exoskeleton suits have been produced, including XOS 2, which helps lift heavy loads and Rex Bionics legs which are used to help people walk.
BRILLIANT!SO IF I HAD AN EXOSKELETON SUIT WOULD THAT MAKE ME LIKE GIZMODUCK, THE CENTURIONS AND GUYVER-1?
Erm, not exactly.It is hoped that exoskeletons can be used as a military application to help save lives by protecting soldiers in the field, but there are a few stumbling blocks at the moment.One is the power source, which needs to be able to sustain the suit; another is the flexibility so that the suit can be compatible with the movement of a human being.Finally the weight is an issue as the exoskeleton is designed to benefit the wearer, which is something that won’t happen if it’s too bloody heavy to wear!Taking all that into account, exoskeleton suits are a reality and so that means power suits are potentially something the human race will see more of in the future. At the moment exoskeletons aren’t at the stage where they could turn you into GizmoDuck, the Centurions or Guyver-1, but don’t give up hope as they’re continually being developed so it is a possibility that one day this could happen.
And now you know.
SUPER SCIENCE EQUATION: Exoskeleton suit + Ryan = Power suit wearing Ryan
That’s all for this exciting chapter, but we’re staying in Japan for one more week so we’ll see you next time as we delve into the world of dinosaurs!