Armor, suit and exoskeleton: When Science Fiction leads the way

Whether it is armor to increase the resistance of the body, or camouflage uniforms to exacerbate the stealth and stealth of the soldiers, the soldiers have been wearing protective gear and appendages for several millennia. Today, we are seeing the beginnings of a new generation of systems intended both to protect and increase the power and resistance of the fighter, and sometimes to erase him from the adversary's detection systems, such as this. either in the form of exoskeletons, connected "body-armor", or adaptive camouflage suits. In this field, science fiction has, for many years, paved the way, in literature, comics as well as in cinema and television series, sometimes with particularly inspiring approaches for the engineers in charge of this type of program. In this article, we will present 5 of the most interesting combat outfits from the Scyfy universe, to study their specificities, and the relevance of the proposed concept.

1- Aliens: The Return: Exoskeleton for M56 Smart Gun

In 1986, James Cameron made one of his first block-buster with Aliens - The Return, narrating the adventure of Ellen Ripley accompanied by a squad of Space Marines on a planet in the process of terraforming, LV-426, to face it. "xenomorphs", the creatures that had struck down the Nostromo crew in the first installment of the series. There are certain aspects that will form the hallmark of Cameron during his long and successful film career, in particular the precision with which he designs the military equipment of the future, including Drake's M56 Smart Gun combat system and Vasquez, two of the film's most charismatic space marines. The Smart Gun consists of a heavy machine gun (18 kg) intended for dynamic fire support for infantry squads, as well as a simplified exoskeleton allowing the weight of the weapon and ammunition to be distributed, as well as '' absorb the recoil of the shot, without hampering the mobility of the combat team, and without requiring the taking of cover or fire support. In addition, a helmet aiming system completes the panoply, allowing the Space Marines to have great firepower over time, and in the movement of the action.

Colonial Marines Vasquez and Drake with their M56 Smart Guns are among the most charismatic characters in James Cameron's film

The proposed principle is reminiscent of certain experiments around the Gatling M134 machine gun attached to combat armor, without the latter offering the same fluidity in shooting as in movement. James Cameron has pushed the level of detail to imagine the specific movements linked to the use of the M56, in a dynamic inspired by martial arts such as Ju jitsu or Aikido, giving the movements of the marines a feline plastic. On the other hand, if this technology and this tactic seem effective against xenomorphs (and again), it is understandable that the shooter finds himself particularly vulnerable to enemy fire, especially since the support arm system does not seem suitable for taking of cutlery, however essential in the progression of the infantry. Still, the physical and logical connection between the weapon, the helmet aiming system, and the combat armor was remarkably visionary in 1986, when we are only now beginning to implement this type of technology.

2- Dune: The Distille

Published in 1965, Dune, by Frank Herbert, is one of the mainstays of classic science fiction, along with Azimov's Foundations and Robots cycle, and Van Vogt's Pursuit of the Slans. If the plot wants to be linked to a universe close to the Space Opera very popular at the time, Herbert decided to break with many codes of science fiction of the 60s, by eliminating the concept of robotics and artificial intelligence following a war between men and machines (the Buthlerian Jihad), as well as the use of laser weapons made impossible by the enigmatic "Holtzman Effect" which would destroy the shooter and the target if a laser came hit a shield. Above all, Herbert positioned the plot of Dune on the desert planet Arrakis, also called Dune, which simultaneously harbors the universe's most indispensable commodity, Spice (an allegory of Oil), and an indigenous people who will constitute the pivot of history, the Fremens. To survive on Dune, the Fremen developed a survival and combat outfit called "Distille", specifically designed for the extreme and arid climate of the planet.

This September 15, 2021, a new adaptation of the novel Dune will be released on the screens of Cinema in France, directed by Canadian Denis Villeneuve.

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