If you’ll remember back in October of 2013 there was a story about how a “real Iron Man” was being built by the US Army. This week, US President Barack Obama spoke up on the White House’s next initiative for manufacturing innovation in the United States. In this speech, he suggested that the reason the press was gathered was that the United States government was building Iron Man – it was a joke, of course.
In reality the event was to introduce two new public-private manufacturing innovation institutes. These institutes would be in Chicago and Detroit, while the overarching initiative would also be putting on a competition for the first of four additional institutes “that will put America at the forefront of 21st century manufacturing.”
You can see the full transcript of Obama’s remarks on these new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes right now at The White House dot gov.
Meanwhile – the United States government is, actually – really – creating Iron Man. It’s not a Marvel Comics situation, exactly, but it may as well be called something similar. This is the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) project TALOS: Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit.
From SOF TALOS we’re also able to see a July of 2013 demonstration of a few technologies having to do with TALOS. This is part of a “Technologies for Use by Special Operations Forces” initiative to bring in top technology partners to work on TALOS-based innovations.
You can see the call-to-action at Federal Business Opportunities homepage – legitimate as can be with its low-level graphic design, of course.
According to Armed with Science, Michel Fieldson, TALOS lead, SOCOM, spoke up on the project in November of 2013, suggesting the following:
“We sometimes refer to it as the Iron Man suit, frankly to attract the attention, imagination and excitement of industry and academia.
We’re hoping to take products we’re developing in several technology areas and integrating them into a consolidated suit to provide more protection for SOC operator.” – Michel Fieldson, TALOS lead, SOCOM
Fieldson is also noted as saying that they’re hoping to have a full contract in place by next fall. That’s nearer the end of 2014, while Fieldson suggests that they’d like to have the first suits “ready for full field testing in about four years.”
UPDATE: For the full speech about Manufacturing Innovation made earlier this week, see the video above, straight from the White House.