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Robert Downey Jr. Shares This Age Of Ultron Poster, Promises “A Big Announcement”

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Avengers Age of UltronThat poster for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron that dropped yesterday is a bit of a mess. Sure, it’s big and epic, but with the entire team assembled, plus the swirling swarm of dozens of faceless villains, it’s a crazy photoshopped jumble of oddly sized characters (Hulk is like a million feet tall while Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch are damn near toddler size) and is definitely not the best promo the studio has ever produced. Today brings another poster, one that is way better than the last, and a message from Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr., teasing some big news on the horizon.

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Old Friends Collide In This Avengers: Age Of Ultron Photo And Promo Art

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Avengers Age of UltronDespite what anyone says, and no matter how many time James Gunn speaks to the contrary, The Avengers is the centerpiece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for films like Guardians of the Galaxy to be their own thing, but Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is the sun that all these planets orbit around. This is where the individual threads like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and others all come together, and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to be a massive collision. To further their impending cinematic takeover, the studio has released this new image of the key players and some badass promo art.

The first Avengers movie isn’t just an end, it’s also a beginning. It’s where all of these various storylines finally come together, but at the same time, it’s the embarkation point for a variety of new directions for the MCU. Out of nowhere you have all these other things to contend with, like gods and aliens, and while up to this point these operations had all taken place in relative secret, now they’re out there, part of the public consciousness, which is a whole other can of worms.

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What If Leonardo Da Vinci Designed Iron Man’s Armor?

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One of the fun things about the Iron Man movies, aside from the fact that Robert Downey Jr. was created by God specifcally to play Tony Stark, is that each new installment pretty much guarantees we’ll get to see new iterations of the armor. Hell, Iron Man 3 went all-in by giving Tony a freaking army of the things…which he then blew up at the end of the movie. Thankfully we’ve already seen Tony back in the armor in the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, not to mention the badass “Hulkbuster” variant, but a billionaire genius playboy philanthropist needs as many suits as his closet will allow, so if Tony needs a hand designing some replacements, why not draft Leonardo Da Vinci? I mean, he’d have to invent a time machine first, but if he brings in Banner to brainstorm, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

DaIron1

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The US Military Enlists Hollywood’s Help To Build A Real Life Iron Man

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Iron ManIn the latest case of life imitating art, the United States government is working to create a real life Iron Man suit. Watching Marvel’s three standalone movies, plus The Avengers, we’ve all sat there and thought about how cool it would be to fly around in one of those bad boys, and apparently so did the military. Now they’re asking Hollywood for a helping hand.

The Wall Street Journal (or the Verge if you’re not one to pony up for WSJ’s subscription fee, and how many of us do that?) is reporting some new details of the suits, known as Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, an acronym that is straight out of a comic book. They’ve brought in the help of companies like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, which makes sense, these are just the kind of private contractors that you would expect to be involved in a project like this.

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Elon Musk Is Iron Man, Or At Least Uses The Same 3D Design Technology

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With all the art imitating life out there, it’s sometimes notable when the pendulum swings back around the other way, especially when SpaceX founder and resident genius Elon Musk is involved. Musk’s innovative lifestyle served as the inspiration for the tech-savvy Tony Stark in Marvel’s Iron Man films, and Musk has in turn brought Stark’s hand-gestured immersive 3D visualizations to life in a big way. (Or a small way, if you choose to zoom really far out.) While I’m over here wondering how this could be used for the greatest “Create a Player” customization in video game history, Musk and his team are improving rocket engine design. I guess that’s why I’m writing this article instead of designing rocket engines.

Musk recently posted to Twitter that he will release a video of the tech design, which could be immediately printed in titanium. And then he released a video that did exactly that. I’m a little skeptical about the precision of some of these techniques, though I’m wowed by them regardless. They use computer peripherals like the gesture-based Leap Motion unit, and the soon-to-be-released Oculus Rift virtual reality helmet, to create the digital image, which they then print out on a 3D laser metal printer. All anyone needs to do is be able to afford these devices and have an imagination, and any object your mind creates could become a physical object. It’s always great when science doesn’t need an exclusive contraption like the Large Hadron Collider in order to wow us. By next year, we could all feasibly be designing our own rocket engine parts. Of course, Musk is the one that actually gets to put them to use.

Now, I own the Leap Motion and have been meaning to get a review of it on here. To capsule that review here, I’d say it’s pretty tough to get used to controlling objects while your hand hovers around, and I can’t really grasp how fine-tuned these designs can be without the use of a stylus or some other tool that is better suited for details than your hands and fingers. But if Musk says it is so, then I believe him.

Will this “revolutionize design and manufacturing in the 21st century,” as the entrepreneur says at the video’s end? Almost definitely. We just have to make sure supervillains like the Mandarin don’t get a hold of it.

Incidentally, if you wanted to be even more like Tony Stark, Marvel plans to release a JARVIS app, which will serve as your own personal assistant and second screen for your home entertainment system. Paul Bettany voices JARVIS, and he recorded a monstrous 20 hours of audio to be used on the app.

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Exoskeletons Aren’t Just for Iron Men Anymore—Now They’re For Astronauts Too

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exoskeleton
While Elysium raises some frightening possibilities about the implications of the class divide, it did present a pretty awesome futuristic possibility in Matt Damon’s exoskeleton. A possibility that, like so many others from sci-fi, seems poised to become reality.

NASA, along with engineers from Oceaneering Space Systems of Houston and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, is developing the X1 Robotic Exoskeleton, intended to make astronauts more like Iron Man.

The device weighs 57 pounds and attaches to the astronaut via a back and shoulder harness and fittings over the legs. The knee and hip joints are motorized, and the exoskeleton has other passive joints that enable turning, flexing, and other adaptive and reactive movements. All told, it has 10 joints or degrees of freedom.