Plenty have had a crack at recreating comic book billionaire Tony Stark’s iconic Iron Man Suit, but Richard Browning might be the most convincing real-life Avenger we’ve seen yet.
Rather than a ridiculous cliffside mansion, the British inventor has built his jet-powered marvel (no pun) in the pleasant Wiltshire countryside.
With his bold new start-up, Gravity Industries, the entrepreneur wants to lead the way for an all-new form of aviation – where the person becomes the aircraft.
The suit is named after Daedalus, a master craftsman in Greek mythology. Browning incorporates a custom-built exoskeleton and what are essentially six mini jet engines that he attaches to different parts of his body. He holds the throttle in his right hand, which allows him to control the speed, height and direction of the suit.
In a video released in conjunction with the product’s launch, you can see how the prototype has developed in 12 months, and each time a new engine is added he looks a bit more like Stark in his lab – with the lab here being a farmyard in the South West of England.
Browning told WIRED that the Daedalus costs around £40,000 to make, and it can go much higher than we see in the video. “If I put my arms down at my side, I’ll accelerate very fast and go straight up in the air,” he explained. “But I wouldn't do that because I didn't have a parachute.”
The suit is constantly evolving, with the most recent addition being a heads-up display (HUD) supplied by Sony. There’s a lot of work to do – tweaks, improvements, endless airborne pissabouts – but the end goal is for this to be a commercial project. If you’ve got a spare $250,000 lying around (which is how much the inventor tells Cnet it would cost to have him build someone their own custom suit) then you too could soon be living those superhero daydreams.
[Main image: Marvel Studios/Gravity Industries/YouTube]