From the gilded chest plate of the Greek demigods to the worsted wool of the modern day word warrior (me), humanity inherently understands the power of a suit. Every CEO, every super hero, every high-powered lesbian knows that a good suit can change the way the world sees the wearer. But it would be wrong to say that the suit is an extension of the man. It is an extension of what the man dreams of becoming, and I for one dream of becoming invincible.
Having no natural predators or concrete reason for anxiety in my life, I spend my time, like most affluent people, worrying about intangible threats. I worry about escaping fires and defusing bombs, and having sex in space. Some quick Internet research revealed that I can solve the majority of my hypothetical problems with suits. I've collected the seven most incredible suits that exist today or are likely to exist in the next few years and if I can figure out a way to fashion them all together, I could be unstoppable.
One of humanity's greatest achievements came in 1961 with the first manned mission to space, and after the cheers had died and confetti had fallen, mankind collectively asked the next logical question, "yeah, but how do we fuck up there?" I have been worrying about this problem since high school physics; the logistical issue of throwing genitals at one another in a weightless environment is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As a result, I would only be guaranteed one solid power-thrust before I was hurtling backward to the other end of the ship from that exotic yet anatomically correct alieness I picked up in the Virgo cluster.
"Well...that was underwhelming."
Enter the 2suit. Created by the poet Vanna Bonta, or as she's better known, "that one lady from Beastmaster," the 2suit allows two weightless and impulsive adults to dock with one another as they drift through outer space. It features a Velcro panel on the front that opens and attaches to the suit of another presumably drunk astronaut. Even though the design lets two people stay in proximity long enough for the copulation to end and the shame to take hold, it doesn't account for flying starts, or even the most basic spin maneuvers, which seem to be the primary motivations for space sex. Still, the technology is nascent and humanity is holding out hope for amendments to the original design, perhaps even a 3suit or a human centipede suit in the near future.
Now, back to Beastmaster because I inadvertently charged over that nugget of information earlier. The designer of the 2suit is the actress who played Zed's wife in Beastmaster, and who is currently playing my favorite inventor. I don't know why there is an emerging trend among Hollywood actors to invent useful products for humanity but I'm pleased that Vanna Bonta's thought process aboard a zero gravity flight with the National Space Society was, "This is incredible, the only thing that could make it better is if someone was doing me right now."
Beat that, Tin Cup.
The Metaflex Suit
For anyone with the lofty aspirations of stalking, voyeurism, or just experiencing the world without contributing anything to it (I'm looking at you, every person with a computer), there is a new technology on the horizon. Metaflex fabric is the closest science has come to human invisibility. Developed in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews, the Metaflex material can manipulate light by bending and channeling it, making objects nearly invisible. What's particularly remarkable about Metaflex is that it's malleable and can drape around the surface it covers, which is ideal for, say, a cloak or a really nice suit.
For me, the prospect of an invisibility suit means effectively becoming Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Transparent Eyeball," achieving the purest transcendental state. And with any luck, achieving it in a women's prison shower during a particularly aggressive and sensual gang fight. I think Ralph would have wanted it that way.
"Now you're just being a dick."
While most great powers come with great responsibilities, the power of invisibility isn't one of them. In fact, shirking responsibility is sort of the point of owning an invisibility suit in the first place.
The XOS 2 Robotics Suit (Exoskeleton)
Though it lacks aesthetic charm, the Raytheon XOS 2 suit isn't designed for dinner parties. It's built to lift heavy things and punch holes through people, two tasks with which I currently struggle. The suit has an incredible distribution of weight given its exceptional power; a person can tiptoe while wearing the exoskeleton making it the obvious accompaniment to the invisibility suit.
"No shower today, ladies. Someone punched a giant hole in the wall."
It's powered by hydraulics and has a 17:1 strength ratio which I imagine means something impressive to people who understand math. What's most amazing, however, is that the XOS 2 allows the wearer to control the amount of force exerted, the same way muscles in a human body work, something fairly complicated to replicate in a machine. To put the intelligent design of the suit into perspective, Ripley could have used it to pound an alien's body into its own tiny mouth and still offered Newt a reassuring pat on the head without ever taking off this power lifter. As far as real-world application is concerned, it seems best suited for bending rebar into eagles and throwing big rocks into a lake, two things that could make me a real hit at construction sites or on camping trips.
The Trojan Ballistics Suit
If someone gave you $15,000 when you were eleven and asked you to make the coolest suit of armor you could think of, it would probably look something like the Trojan. This suit has so many hidden pockets, weapons and general accoutrements that even the inventor forgets all the cool things he added (4:43). Whether any of it actually works is still up for debate.
Bear suit builder and Canadian optimist, Troy Hurtubise designed the Trojan suit for the troops in Afghanistan. It's built to protect against IEDs, bullets, and pretty much anything else an enemy might toss at a soldier with malicious intent. The helmets are equipped with noisy fans to keep the troops cool and to protect against the sounds of hurled insults or the screams of the mortally wounded (2:29). There's even a laser pointer in the forehead to spot snipers, or in case the wearer has to do an impromptu slideshow presentation. But to truly appreciate the Trojan Ballistics suit, you have to see it in action, so Troy Hurtubise created a ten minute video of him killing turtle-necked bad guys with it.
Sadly, and inexplicably, the military never bit on the design, forcing Hurtubise to declare bankruptcy. Troy tried to auction the suit on ebay to recoup some of his costs but no one met the reserve bid, proving once again that the Internet doesn't know a good thing even when it's hitting them in the face with a laser pointer.