Tony Stark has been battling bad guys and protecting innocent civilians since he first donned his mechanized armor in the 1963 debut of Iron Man in Marvel Comics. Over the years, Stark's suit has allowed him to smash through walls, fly through the air like a human jet, control a bewildering array of weaponry by thought alone, and perform an uncountable number of other fantastic feats. The man who showed us all what it would take to become Batman probes whether science-and humankind-is up to the task of inventing a real-life Iron Man.
E. Paul Zehr physically deconstructs Iron Man to find out how we could use modern-day technology to create a suit of armor similar to the one Stark made. Applying scientific principles and an incredibly creative mind to the question, Zehr looks at how Iron Man's suit allows Stark to become a superhero. He discusses the mind-boggling and body-straining feats Iron Man performed to defeat villains like Crimson Dynamo, Iron Monger, and Whiplash and how such acts would play out in the real world. Zehr finds that science is nearing the point where a suit like Iron Man's could be made. But superherodom is not just about technology. Zehr also discusses our own physical limitations and asks whether an extremely well-conditioned person could use Iron Man's armor and do what he does.
A scientifically sound look at brain-machine interfaces and the outer limits where neuroscience and neural plasticity meet, Inventing Iron Man is a fun comparison between comic book science fiction and modern science. If you've ever wondered whether you have what it takes to be the ultimate human-machine hero, then this book is for you.
E. Paul Zehr is a professor of neuroscience and kinesiology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and the author of Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, also published by Johns Hopkins. For more information about finding your inner superhero, visit www.inventingironman.com.