Powered exoskeletons in fiction

Powered exoskeletons in fiction

Powered armor has appeared in a wide variety of fiction, beginning with E. E. Smith's "Lensman" series in 1937. Since then, it has featured in science fiction movies and literature, comic books, video games, and tabletop role-playing games. One of the most famous early versions was Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 novel "Starship Troopers," which can be seen as spawning the entire sub-genre concept of military "powered armor."

In addition to heightened strength and protection provided by the exoskeleton, other popular features include internal life support for hostile environments, protection from environmental hazards such as radiation and vacuum, weapons targeting systems, firearms affixed directly to the suit itself, and transportation mechanisms that allow the wearer to fly, make giant leaps, or speed by on ground.

In some portrayals of powered armor, the suit is not much larger than a human. These depictions can be described as a battlesuit with mechanical and electronic mechanisms designed to augment the wearer's abilities. Other power armors are portrayed as being much larger, more like a bipedal vehicle the size of a tank or much larger. These latter are frequently termed Mecha, from the Japanese “メカ” (meka), an adaptation of the English “mechanical.” The line between mecha and power armor is necessarily vague. The usual distinction is that powered armor is form-fitting and worn; mecha have cockpits and are driven, [cite web|url=http://www.trooperpx.com/AFS/AFS00.html|title=Armored Fighting Suit|author=Ramsay, David|publisher="TrooperPX.com"|date=2005-02-09|accessdate=2007-09-26] or that powered exoskeletons augment the user's natural abilities, whilst mechas replace them entirely. However, the line between the two can be difficult to determine at times, especially considering that force feedback systems are often included for delicate maneuvers. Even in a larger mecha meant to be driven like a walking tank rather than worn, a realistic control system would have to be either cybernetic or form-fittingFact|date=April 2008: In the BattleTech universe, a cybernetic system is necessary to provide a sense of balance.

Another variation is Bio-Armour, which produces similar strength with organic technology (e.g. Peter F. Hamilton's novel "Fallen Dragon", Jim Shooter's "X-O Manowar" comic book, and the "Guyver" Japanese animation series).

Most power armors carry an on-board, self-sufficient power source. Masamune Shirow's Landmates in "Appleseed" used simple internal combustion engines installed into the thigh assembly of the armor. The "hardsuits" of "Bubblegum Crisis 2040" have a battery the size of an American football between their shoulderblades, though the functionality is never described. Still, more fantastic power sources have been introduced, for example, in ', "Halo 2", and "Halo 3", the Master Chief's MJOLNIR (pictured below) armor is powered by miniaturized fusion power reactors. The Power Armor in the Fallout series, which is usually worn by the "Brotherhood of Steel", a techno-religious group, is also described as being fueled by fusion power cells. In Privateer Press' Iron Kingdoms setting, a steam boiler powers an arcane conversion engine, which ultimately powers the suit. Similarly, in ', the suits are powered by single-celled organisms cultured in "Ovo Packs".

In literature

*E. E. Smith's "Lensman" series, (published from 1937 onwards), contains the earliest conceptualization of personal armour with both defensive and offensive capabilities for all environments.
*Another early example were the Fat Man underwater suits (with mechanical pantograph arms and a propulsion system), which debuted in "Tom Swift and His Jetmarine" (1954).
* The novel "Starship Troopers" (1959) details the tactics involved with powered armor. It was also the first work of fiction that widely popularized the concept. The first film adaptation was a Japanese OVA, Uchu no Senshi, produced by Sunrise with mechanical designs by Studio Nue. The later Hollywood version, however, did not use powered armor, opting instead for the Troopers to use simple (but clearly ineffective) body armor. In contrast, the 1999 remained far more faithful to Heinlein's original vision.
* Powered exoskeletons with arc weapons are used by inhabitants of Northworld in the "Northworld" Trilogy by "David Drake"
* Standard issue battle armor in Joe Haldeman's book "The Forever War" is an exoskeleton using logarithmic force amplification.
* Powered armor operated remotely by telepresence also feature in Haldeman's "Forever Peace" (which shares themes with the previous "The Forever War" but is not a sequel in terms of setting and characters).
* The security troops of the interstellar company Zantiu-Braun are described as wearing biological "Skin" armour in Peter Hamilton's novel "Fallen Dragon".
* Very advanced suits based on nanotechnology and a very advanced computer assistance system are depicted in "Legacy of the Aldenata" by John Ringo. These suits are notable for being one of an extremely few designs that recognise traditional transparent 'eyes' in the helmet of the armour as being a weakness. These suits are often regarded as the spiritual descendants of Robert A Heinlein's Mobile Infantry Marauder, Command and Scout suits and in fact borrow similar terminology.
* "Armor" by John Steakley, who admits that the work was inspired by "Starship Troopers", features powered battle armor.
* Dale Brown uses characters in many of his novels that wear a Tin man suit, which is a thin material that has an electric charge that flows though it to protect the user from all but very large explosions and very large caliber rounds. He also writes about CID units in his book, Act of War, which are Cybernetic Infantry Devices which are approximately 9 feet tall.
* In Neal Stephenson's novel "The Diamond Age", nanotech-derived Hoplite suits are used by modern infantry, and are full-body suits of powered armor.
* In Iain M Banks's novel The Player of Games, a veteran wearing life-support powered body armor is forced to commit murder when the control systems of his suit are taken over from outside.
* In David Weber's Honorverse and Mutineers' Moon universe, military units - in addition to unpowered 'skin' suits use powered armour hardsuits for combat operations. In addition in his books Path of the Fury and the later expansion In Fury Born, both Imperial Marines and the elite Drop Commandos of the Imperial Cadre utilise powered armour suits.
* In the novel Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, the "armies" in battle school use a version of a powered exoskeleton for mock battles; however these did not offer any advantages and simply froze soldiers who were "shot".
* Many novels published by Black Library feature characters wearing power armour.
* Manfac by Martin Caidin, involves a disabled character who is given a new life through a powered exoskeleton given a human experience. The novel includes a realistic discussion of the force feedback issues involved in amplifying force and speed from a given human movement.

In comics and manga

*The Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man, who wields a specialized suit of armor of his own design, is arguably the most popular American superhero who uses powered armor. Other characters in his long-running comic book series have also used such armor, including War Machine, Iron Monger, Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo, and most recently, Wondra. (Jubilee)Fact|date=January 2008
* Other notable powered armor users in Western comics include the supervillain Doctor Doom, Steel, Batman (sometimes, notably his "", "Kingdom Come", "Knightfall", "Batman Beyond" and "The Batman" permutations), X-O Manowar, and Guardian.
* In Japanese manga "Gantz", the characters wear a powered suit like exoskeleton, which gives them enormous strength and protection.
* The Franco-Belgian comics heroine Yoko Tsuno wore one in "Aventures électroniques" ("Electronic Adventures"),the 4th graphic novel of her adventures.
* The webcomic Schlock Mercenary includes a variety of powered armor, ranging from 'mini-tanks' down through various sorts of articulated hardsuits, to the 'low-profile' carbon fiber armor that is nearly indistinguishable from ordinary uniforms. All forms of power armor in the series to date has had some flight capacity, owing to the ubiquitous artificial gravity technology shown throughout the strip.
* The is a biomechanical exo-suit from the long-running manga, anime and films of the same name in the franchise created by Yoshiki Takaya.
* Yu Ominae in Spriggan uses the Armored Muscle Suit, which gives him 30x artificial strength and protection from bullets, fires, explosions and melee weapons.
* During the Incredible Hulk's rampages, S.H.I.E.L.D is known to send HULKBUSTER units. "Hulkbuster" is also a famous Iron Man variant armor, actually an add-on to the famous Mark XI "Modular Armor."
* In Alan Moore's Watchmen Graphic Novel, the second Nite Owl built an Owl Themed Exoskeleton. On its first test run it broke his arm and he never used it again.
* In Greg Bear's Novel Moving Mars thick reactive nano armor was used to protect Martian leaders during an attack by earth from projectiles and made wearers dangerous to all escort personnel.
* Superman's arch-enemy Lex Luthor is known to wear green and purple armor suits from time to time.
* Tech Jacket's main character Zack Thompson has an exoskeleton that gives him his super powers.
*In BIONICLE, the Toa Mata used Exo-Toa to battle the Bahrag.
* A number of graphic novels published by Black Library feature characters wearing power armour.

In television and film

* In the movie "Aliens" (1986), mechanized exosuits (actually "Caterpillar Power Loaders J-5000" [cite web
url = http://www.hallert.net/powerloader/
title = Power Loader Halloween costume
accessdate = 2006-11-15
last = Hallert
first = Ben
language = English
] ) are used in loading cargo for spaceships, as well as Ripley's duel with the queen alien. A military version of this loader can be seen in the video game "Aliens versus Predator 2".
* The Hardman gear Raimi wears in the movie "Death Machine" (1994).
* In the 1994 TV series "M.A.N.T.I.S." (Mechanically Augmented Neuro-Transmitter Interactive System) Dr. Miles Hawkins, a paralyzed scientist portrayed by Carl Lumbly, creates a super-powered exoskeleton in order to walk again, but ends up using it for crimefighting.
* The Armored Personnel Units seen in the movie "Matrix Revolutions" (2003), although these walk the line between powered armor and mecha.
* Many of the Kamen Rider series use more complex, mechanical looking armours that seem to be powered by an unknown source.
* The Muscle Gear, used by the Space Criminals Alienizer in the 2004 "Super Sentai" series "Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger", is a powered exoskeleton that reflects all attacks and is loaded with weapons.
* In the Animatrix segment "The Second Renaissance part 2", human forces in the first Man-Machine War use powered armor which is a more sophisticated ancestor of the armor used in "Matrix Revolutions".
* In the 2005 film "Sky High", Gwen Grayson/Royal Pain uses an armored battlesuit.
* In the 2008 film "Iron Man", there are suits with built-in weapons, which allow flying with vertical take-off and super-sonic flight.
* In the 2000 TV series "Dark Angel", Logan "Eyes Only" Cale uses a partial exoskeleton (only covering the lower half of his body) to overcome his disability, allowing him to walk again. In addition, the exoskeleton grants increased physical performance to his lower body than a normal human.

In animation

Starship Troopers" (1988).

* The Zentraedi male and female powered armors from "Robotech" (the English adaptation of the Japanese "Macross" T.V. anime series) feature energy and projectile weaponry with both atmospheric and space travel capabilities.
* In the CGI cartoon "ReBoot", Matrix and AndrAIa wear yellow exosuits similar to the ones from the movie "Aliens".
* In the American action cartoon series "Centurions", the Centurions used a uniform like powered exoframes with several hard points, which enabled them to be with merged with multiple weapon systems.
* Exoskeletal vehicles named "E-frames" were one of the central aspects of the American animated television series "Exosquad".
*In the anime series Bubblegum Crisis the heroines use a type of powered armor known as a "Hard Suit" which deviates from the normal look of rugged military issue armor and keeps a more feminine appearance.
* Exoskeletal suits named "EMACS" ("Energized Monster Armed Containment Suit") or simply "power suits" were a standard weapon in the animated cartoon series "Monster Force".
* In "" (1986), as well as its 3rd and 4th seasons and Japanese spin-offs ("TF: Super God Masterforce" in particular), "exo-suits" were created, allowing humanoid supporting characters to transform alongside their Autobot and Decepticon counterparts. This technology was further used to allow humans to combine with Transformers, resulting in the "Headmasters", "Targetmasters", and "Powermasters".
* Many Japanese animation featuring mechanical objects also have humans controlling gigantic exoskeletons, such as "The Vision of Escaflowne", "Full Metal Panic", "Bubblegum Crisis", "Tekkaman Blade", "Gundam" or "". Although many of these are not exactly exoskeletons because of their non-humanoid forms, the main principle is identical. "(See below.)" The term "mobile suit" in the "Mobile Suit Gundam" series in particular, is believed to derived directly from the Mobile Infantry powered suits of "Starship Troopers".
* The CGI television series "" (based on the Heinlein novel) made extensive use of power armor, though somewhat different from the armor in the original book.
* In Episode 11 of "Batman Beyond" ("Disappearing Inque"), Bruce Wayne shows Terry McGinnis the powered armor exoskeleton he used briefly before creating the more advanced Powered Batsuit. The exoskeleton is mostly silver, with a black trim on the gauntlets and helmet, and the familiar shape of the Batman logo tapering from the neck across the chest.
* In the 1st "Danny Phantom" TV-Movie ("Reign Storm"), Jack and Maddie Fenton build a powered armor exosuit capable of combating any powerful ghost, but its power proved that prolong usage of the suit could weaken and even kill the user. Danny used the suit to defeat Pariah Dark, the ghost king and Vlad Masters/Plasmius stole it at the end, but it reappered again in the episode "Secret Weapons" where Vlad had made improvements to it, but at the end of the episode, Danny and Jazz set it to self-destruct and was destroyed.

In video games

* All Warhammer 40,000 video games feature characters, units or opponents wearing power armour.
* In Star Warrior, the player is a member of the Furies, a mercenary group that uses small groups of operatives in powered armor.
* In Earthworm Jim, Earthworm Jim uses the Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit which responds to his psychic commands, allowing him to progress through the game.
* In , a 1st person tactical game by Looking Glass Studios, powered armor is the centerpiece, featuring many types of powered armor and loadout combinations. Among those found in electronic games, Terra Nova's powered armor suits are also the ones most similar to the drop suits and powered armor found in Robert Heinlein's novel, Starship Troopers.
* Gordon Freeman's Hazardous Environment (HEV) Suit from "Half-Life" and "Half-Life 2" is an exoskeleton originally designed for working with hazardous materials, exploration and possibly combat due its projectile resistant active armour and weapons recognition systems.
* The "Half-life" expansion pack "" featured "Adrian Shephard" of the "HECU" wearing a Powered Combat Vest (PCV), designed as a high tech bullet proof vest to absorb the damage of attacks. It is assumed that in the story context this is a new or newly mainstream technology funded by the government for the military.
* The "Half-Life" mod known as "Natural Selection" features a full armor suit, an advanced technology that Marines can acquire, which absorbs much damage for the wearer, is powered so the wearer maintains agility almost equal to an unencumbered person, and can be repaired when damaged.
* The "Half-Life 2" mod known as "Dystopia" features power armor for its Medium class. Additionally, all classes can equip themselves with "leg boosters", which increase jump height and brace against high falls.
* In "Deus Ex", the Majestic 12 Commando units wear power armor (dubbed 'obsidian' armor by their creators) that is outfitted with two 7.62 mm machineguns and two rocket launchers.
* In "", the Paladins wear Power Armour to combat their biomodified foes.
* Samus Aran from the "Metroid" series of video games wears an exoskeleton, the Power Suit, designed by the Chozo and enhanced with an attached arm cannon, which grants her the ability to roll into a ball around one meter in diameter and/or perform very high spinning jumps. In addition, it allows her to survive almost indefinitely underwater, as well as in the vacuum of space. The suit is modular in design, allowing the incorporation of additional weapons, detection equipment, movement enhancements, and protective shielding. Samus' flexibility as well as agility seem to suggest she either has a light suit or is so used to it that she can move around freely. It also includes some biological components, as evidenced in "Metroid Fusion". Throughout the series, similar, if more primitive, armor is worn by Federation soldiers, Space Pirates, and other warriors within the universe.
* The "Fallout" computer role-playing game series is notable for its use of powered armors in retro-'50s style. It increases strength, such as the exoskeleton intended to do so in real life and has an advanced version - Advanced Power Armor. It is powered by a Micro-Fusion reactor. In addition to providing physical protection, Power Armor also serves as a radiation shield.
* Powered armor is an integral gameplay element of the "Tribes" video game series, with all major characters wearing it most of the time. Additionally, all armor suits are outfitted with jet packs, adding a similarity to the original Mobile Infantry equipment in Heinlein's book.
* The super-soldier Master Chief in the video game series "" is clad in an energy-shielded and strength-enhancing armored suit made from super-dense materials, called the MJOLNIR battle armor, that can allow him to turn over armored vehicles, quickly dispatch foes in melee combat, and house starship-grade AI in a layer of crystals. These crystals are the same type is to create an AI's core, and reside in between the armor and the inner body suit to allow him to override enemy electronic defenses. The character is so heavily associated with the suit that he is never depicted outside of the armor, though at both the end of "Halo" and the start of "Halo 2", the Master Chief is helmetless, with his head offscreen.
* Also, the Clone commandos in "" sport a version of powered armor, called Katarn-class powered armor. (though it is more armor than power).
* Exoskeletons have surfaced in many other video games. Some examples would be certain marines from "" and "MAX Units" from "PlanetSide".
* In Starcraft and its expansion pack, most of the Terran foot soldiers: the Marines, Firebats, Medics (in the expansion), and possibly ghosts, use powered armor. The basic Terran building unit, the SCV (Space Construction Vehicle) also appears to be a bulky powered exoskeleton. The Goliath also resembles powered armor, and has been described as such in some Starcraft books, but, like the Armored Personnel Unit of the Matrix, blurs the line between power armor and Mecha. Also the Protoss unit Dragoon is a severely wounded soldier on life support in a powered exo-skeleton, yet in "Starcraft 2" the art and design for a Immortal (the new and improved Dragoons) makes it resemble a mecha
* After extensive research, troops in the computer game X-Com have access to power armor that allows damage resistance and flight.
* In the FPS player, as well as enemies, can carry an "exo armor", which covers the whole body, and even get into a war bipod called "exoskeleton."
* In the MMORPG Neocron 2 high level players have access to several types of power armor.
* In the video game series "Metal Gear Solid", the first game features the character Cyborg Ninja (Gray Fox), who possesses a powerful exoskeleton with stealth camouflage. In Olga Gurlukovich wears a similar exoskeleton. Also in MGS2 Solidus Snake wears another type of exoskeleton equipped with missile firing tentacles and the Arsenal Tengus who protect Arsenal Gear and the Metal Gear RAY's in MGS2 appear to be wearing a military prototype combat power suit. In Metal Gear Solid 4 Raiden uses an advanced Cyborg Ninja type exoskeleton and the Beauty and the Beast group featured in the game all wear a different type exoskeleton armor.
* In Eugen System's RTS (Along with ), Task Force Talon's signature unit is the SHIELD Unit (Super High Infantry Electronic Defense Unit), which is a powered armor combat exoskeleton outfitted with a GAU-19 20 mm Vulcan Cannon and a Javelin Missile Launcher. These units have medium armor and used mostly as fast hit-and-run raiders that can take down helicopters in large groups, but do not fare too well against tanks and heavy artillery. They can be upgraded with a milimetric radar system to allow their pilots to detect stealth units.
* Monolith Productions' first-person shooter "F.E.A.R" features an exoskeleton named the R.E.V.E. Power Armor. Arguably one of the game's most dangerous enemies, the R.E.V.E. is heavily armored and wields powerful weaponry such as rocket launchers and laser cannons, yet is almost as fast and maneuverable as a standard human soldier.
* In Crytek's Crysis, the protagonist, Nomad, wears a US Military prototype "Nano Muscle Suit" that allows the user to have extra protection against projectiles, superhuman strength, cloaking ability, underwater breathing, enhanced speed, and the ability to treat wounds out on the battlefield. These actions uses rechargeable energy reserves that power the suit.
* Also, in Crysis Warhead, Psycho (Nomad's teammate from the original game) also has the same suit.
* In Red Faction Parkers Miner Suit (similar to Gordan Freeman's HEV suit) is a form of powered armour
* In Time Crisis 4, some of the enemies wear hi-tech powered armour. Unlike normal troops, they take a lot of hits to kill, and have a machine gun instead of a pistol.
* In there are several GDI units that can be purchased that are named the Wolverine Powered Combat Suit, the Titan Medium Mechanized Battle Walker, and the Juggernaut Heavy Artillery Platform which returns in the sequel. In Nod created its own bipedal mech warrior called the Nod Avatar Warmech. GDI also fields squads of Zone Troopers, infantry clad in swift, large powered armor that protects them from tiberium fields and being run over by vehicles and equipped with jump jets and powerful railguns that let them cut through anything but aircraft with ease. Nod Black Hand and Tiberium Troopers (Kane's Wrath) use powered armor, presumably to carry the great amount of weight their liquid ammunition entails. It doesn't offer much in the way of actual protection, though.
* In the Soviet Tesla Troopers are most likely wearing a powered exoskeleton. The Desolator unit (which is only available in skirmish/multiplayer games and some campaign missions) also wears a type of powered light exoskeleton, but it provides the trooper protection from radiation.
* In S.T.A.L.K.E.R the expert stalkers wear special exoskeleton suits which increases the carry weight limit from 50 kg to 70 kg and gives additional bullet protection, but makes them unable to sprint. The suits have minimal radiation protection and are very expensive/hard to find, which makes them somewhat impractical to stalkers venturing deep into the Zone.
* In the computer game , the Wehrmacht deploys troopers in exoskeletons, simply called "Exoskeleton." The design of these units is not influenced by science-fiction but rather resembles 20th century technology. Classified as "Light Tank", these Exoskeletons are armed with machine guns and a special rocket launcher ability that must be researched separately and can only be used every few minutes.
* In the Sierra game Time Shift, the player wears the experimental "Beta Suit", which, apart from rechargeable shields, can cause time to slow, stop, or reverse, while leaving the player free to act normally. This suit seems to be a cross between power armor and a skin suit, but is similar to the suit used in Half Life 2.
* Admiral Galak Fyyar uses a heavy full-body armour in Star Wars Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast. It has an inbuilt shield-generator which is characterised by reflecting Lightsabers.

In role-playing and board games

* In Inquisitor (game) characters can wear power armour.
* In Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay (Also known as Dark Heresy) features characters and/or opponents wearing power armour.
* In the Battletech (Also known as MechWarrior) universe, genetically engineered Clan soldiers are bred for strength and other qualities to wear Elemental powered armor. Elemental armor also provides advanced medical technologies to keep the wearer alive in case of severe injury or trauma during combat. Following the Clan Invasion, many other governments began to deploy Battle Armoured suits, but often of lesser quality then the original Elemental Armour.
* Powered armor is heavily used in science fiction role-playing games, such as "Rifts", to allow weak and mundane humans to compete in combat with supernatural and super-powerful adversaries. Two common examples of Powered Armor (or just Power Armor) in that series are the 10 foot Glitter Boy, which is covered in a coat of mirror-like, laser-resistant alloys; and the jet flight capable Strategic Armor Military Assault Suit (commonly called the SAMAS or Sam).
* Privateer Press' Iron Kingdoms, the setting for the tabletop game Warmachine, includes Warcasters and characters that don suits of steam powered armor. The suits require coal to keep the furnace lit as well as water in their boiler.
* In Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic there are several different types of power armor available including Corellian Power Armor. Although the armor types in the game are of little importance, power armor is available for use.
* Several examples can be found in the table-top strategy Warhammer 40,000. The most prominent examples are Power Armour, Terminator Armour and Dreadnought (although the dreadnought is much more like a "Mecha" than a suit of Power Armour) carapace used by the Space Marine and Chaos Space Marines, others include Tau Empire battle suits and Ork mega armour.
* Armored Adept is one of the available classes in "Deeds Not Words". As a player levels up, his powered armor improves.


An variant of the powered armor would be the skinsuit, a very thin (hence the name) and flexible powered armor variant. The skinsuit can be used as an environmental-protection suit, similar to spacesuit (for example, in the Honorverse universe), or may have some artificial muscle that increases strength, resistance and endurance, but in that case sacrifices environmental protection, sensory equipment, and built-in weaponry. The suits seen in the anime and manga versions of "Spriggan" and "Gantz" or skull suit from "" would be prime example of this form of armor. Another would be the Nano Suit in Crysis. The military uniforms in the webcomic "Schlock Mercenary" are almost universally skinsuits, utilizing buckminsterfullerene tubule-weave cloth and incorporating antigrav systems to allow a soldier flight capabilities.

*Many Japanese "tokusatsu" television series and movies feature heroes (and more-rarely villains) in technological skin-tight armor. Popular examples include:
**the long-running sub-genre Super Sentai saga (which, each following year, is Americanized as the "Power Rangers" saga). One exception to this would be the heroes from 2005's "Mahou Sentai Magiranger" (2006's "") who use literal magic spells to create their suits; whereas all other Super Sentai series have some form of on-person (the hero carry a device with them) or projected (the suit is transmitted invisibly from a fixed location or another more-powerful sentient being) technology involved.
**Early versions of the darker "Kamen Rider" saga used skin-tight armor in addition to extended thick armor; though later generations of series have moved on in favor of more familiar metallic-looking powered armor suits that are also form-fitting.
**The "Ultraman" series of superheroes (like Kamen Riders) uses a combination of skin suits augmented with thicker armor. This is debatable, however, as some "Ultraman" heroes are completely alien and merely appear as humans on the outside (hence the definition of what is armor and what is their body is undefinable), they feature a human merged with an alien symbiote which provides their powers, or the powers are gifted to the human character through a merely-mechanical alien device.

As with powered exoskeletal armor, it has become apparent that even the skinsuit may become a possibility in the near future: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has reopened research into the space activity suit, a type of spacesuit that equalizes pressure through mechanical pressure as the suit with the breathing gas and DARPA is researching using carbon nanofiber tubes as artificial muscles for powered uniforms as opposed to an exoskeleton rig.

In Dan Simmons' Hyperion books, one of the protagonists is aided by a woman from the very distant future; she uses advanced technology to sheathe the character in an energy 'skinsuit' that not only acts as a powered body armor, but tends to injuries, allows the wearer to focus on objects with perfect clarity from many kilometers away, and allows the wearer to phase-shift in incredible speeds during combat. A person 'skinsuited' appeared to the viewer to be covered in a micrometres-thin layer of mercury.

See also

Powered exoskeleton


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