Exoskeletons in Science Fiction

The idea of human enhancement through robotics is something that has been frequently depicted in various movies and novels. More often than not, the superhero is a regular guy who, when in his suit, possesses superhuman strength and stamina.
Almost all of the different exoskeletons in Sci-fi are some sort of weaponized suit with killing and destruction as the main purpose.

One of the more popular characters is Marvels Iron Man.
Iron man is essentially a suit that gives the user “super powers.” The suit is extremely high tech and acts as a seamless extension to the user’s body. The power source of the Iron Man suit is a special mini reactor that has been developed by Tony Stark. The Iron Man suit is probably the ultimate goal for any exoskeleton to achieve. If this suit was to exist, then the world would be a very different place. Albeit, a cool concept for movies, it is not very realistic to achieve this type of technology within a foreseeable future.

Another famous exoskeleton in science fiction is the suit worn by the main character in Crysis. The suit is utilizing nanotechnology to enhance the performance of those who wear it. This suit is not only an extension of the user; it becomes one with the operator.
This suit can change characteristics on demand, and is extremely agile and strong. The nanotechnology enhances performance through a combination of and robotics and biology. The nanobots enter the bloodstream and alter the physical characteristics of the body, thereby giving the user superhuman strengths.
Again, this suit is very cool, and something that, if it was to exist, would change our view of warfare and strength significantly. However, whit this suit actually altering the physical attributes of the user, it is very unlikely we will ever see something like this exist in real life. 


Another famous video game character is Halo's Master Chief. Also wearing an exoskeleton in the form of a performance enhancing suit, Master Chief travels the galaxy in order to protect the humans from a hostile alien race. This suit allows Master Chief to jump from buildings, flip cars, and other superhuman feats of strength. This suit also features a rechargeable shield in the form a force field.

So what do all these suits have in common? Well, they are all extreme battle machines that exist to win wars and alter the outcome of battle. They are all a seamless extension to the human body, and provide already fit and able users with unimaginable strengths.
These features work well in Science Fiction, but would it work in real life? Imagine if someone with malicious intentions manages to build or apprehend a suit like these examples, the consequences of such an action would be far more severe than anything we have seen so far.

The focus on exoskeleton technology should instead focus on the more user friendly solutions that can be developed. In the right hands, an exoskeleton can be highly beneficial to the world. Although Iron Man looks cool in a movie, in the real world it is much cooler to help a disabled person regain his or her ability to walk.

When it comes to real life, the application of exoskeletons is mainly to aid the user. These inventions simplify lives rather than taking them.

For those who are interested in how it feels to be Iron Man should try the game below!

Experience how it feels to be Iron Man!