How many times have you read a Marvel comic or have come across a scene in the Marvel films and wished you had access to some of the flashy technology presented? Say what you want about the Marvel films, but the Russo brothers do an excellent job at making the technology behind some of your favorite heroes really cool.
In celebration of the final chapter of the Infinity Saga this month, in the film Avengers Endgame, it is only right that we take a look back at some of the most memorable technology presented in the films and examine whether or not we could engineer it.
Let’s face it if you could build yourself a fully functioning Iron Man Suit you would. Like many other aspects of the science fiction genre, Marvel both represent where modern technology currently is in the world and where it could potentially go.
Who knows, maybe in the distant future your grandkids could be suiting up with Earth’s future protectors, using technology to fend off some alien invasion. Our journey will focus on technology from the cinematic universe rather than the comics.
Super Suits: Iron Man’s Suit
Is it Possible?: Yes but not anytime soon.
Let’s start off with the biggest one on everyone’s mind. Now there is a lot of technology packed into Mr. Stark’s impressive suits and 85 iterations, so first, let’s just focus on answering the question of whether or not the most basic Iron Man suit is even possible.
Yes and no. The good news is that researchers and engineers are very close to building a commercially available armored suit that augments the strength and weaponry of a person. In fact, there are actually a few prototypes on the market, with the U.S. government exploring the obvious military applications.
Exoskeleton technology is a huge part of the development for the future soldier and the Raytheon's XOS 2 takes its inspiration from Tony Stark’s suit. The exoskeleton gives its users the ability to lift tremendous weight easily.
However, that is the closest we are going to get to Iron Man suit for now. Though the idea of adding a jet propulsion system to an exoskeleton is not too far off, we will not be getting something as sleek as the Mark IV or Iron Man bleeding edge armor.
Weapons like the plasma cannon are still fictional as we have not found ways to weaponize pure energy into a weaponizable projectile capable of traveling faster than a traditional bullet. Cool features like the nanotech in Infinity War will not be emerging from your clothes anytime soon.
Indestructible Metals: Vibranium
Is it Possible?: No, but, there are some potential alternatives.
The rare super vibranium that very literally a metal that runs to the core some of the most memorable characters and technology in the Marvel cinematic universe. Deposited in Wakanda by an asteroid 10,000 years ago, Vibranium has the cool ability to absorb vibrations from all kinetic energy.
It makes Captain America's shield indestructible and gives black panther’s kinetic suit some of its coolest features.
Unfortunately, there are not that any real-world metals that share those properties but do not worry, you are in luck. According to a CIA scientist, diamond nanothreads have the ability to hold a lot of energy when woven into a fabric. While tungsten carbide can compress materials and store energy to be released later.
Super AI: Jarvis and Ultron
Is it Possible?: Maybe. But it is probably not the best idea.
Though Jarvis, now Vision, showcased the potential power and helpfulness of super artificial intelligence, Ultron, like many AI antagonists, showcased how quickly things can go awry if AI gets too “smart”.
Though we still may be decades from actually creating superintelligent AI, thought leaders and business owners have both shared their excitement towards AI and their impending fears. Hopefully, we will not have to fight off any problematic super robots in the near future.
Holographic Controls: Kimoyo Beads
Is it Possible?: Yes
The Kimoyo beads in Black Panther are some of the most memorable pieces of technology from the Marvel film. The small vibranium beads can hold personal data and can act as a universal controller for a host of other awesome Wakanda technologies.
So as for the touch component of these devices, that is obviously possible, there is a good chance that you have a touch smart device laying around your home right now. Though holographic technology is currently in development, using it for communication is still very far off.
The Ultimate Camouflage: Invisibility Cloaks
Is it Possible?: Yes
Another staple of both Wakanda and some of you favorite guardians in the Marvel Universal Invisibility cloaks have great tactical practical uses for the military and of course the occasional mischievous adventure.
University of Rochester researchers have created technology that has the ability to bend light around objects making them invisible. In the coming years, you might be able to get your hands on an invisibility cloak.