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How To Become Iron Man

Part of the fun of superheroes is that we get to imagine using their powers. Who wouldn’t want to have the ability to shoot spider webbing out of one’s wrists and climb up skyscrapers effortlessly? Who wouldn’t want to be able to fly around with a red cape or wield a mythical hammer that no one else could lift? I can even think of instances when I wouldn’t mind turning into a growling green monster, though I supposed this is a little bit less desirable.

As far as superheroes go it might be hard to think of one that plays with our imaginations more than Iron Man. In part this is because Robert Downey Jr. has brilliantly humanized the role for the better part of a decade now. But it’s also because Iron Man exists as a result of technology that’s starting to seem like it’s not so far-fetched. Tesla mastermind Elon Musk, who’s commonly referred to as the real life Tony Stark (and actually appeared in a Marvel movie, just for fun), keeps teasing the idea that he’s working his own exoskeleton. In other words, the one guy on Earth who seems perfectly capable of creating an Iron Man suit is publicly flirting with the idea, even if he’s probably just joking around. So for the rest of us, it’s impossible not to think about it: what would it take to wear an Iron Man suit one day?

IronMan Suit

I have one very clear idea for the first step. Unless you happen to be friends with Elon Musk, or brilliant enough to secure a high-ranking position at one of his companies, you’ll probably need to find a way to acquire incredible wealth. You’ll probably have to win the lottery. Granted, that’s a wee bit of a long shot, but contrary to popular belief, there are actually strategies that can help you to figure out how to win the lottery, or at least how to give yourself a slightly better than average shot. For instance, buying multiple tickets or playing lotteries with statistically greater odds than others can both work in your favor.

The unfortunate thing is that even winning the lottery probably isn’t enough. A little while back, there was a write-up of a detailed account of what it would take to become Iron Man or Batman, strictly from a financial perspective. It’s hard to determine if any of their findings are actually “accurate” given that to some degree this is still a fantasy. But it’s still the closest thing you’ll find to a price tag on an Iron Man suit, and the total is a whopping $1,612,717,000. So you’ll just have to win the lottery and then invest your winnings very successfully. No big deal, right?

From the technological side of things, however, attaining an Iron Man suit might actually be more feasible. A pretty comprehensive report broke down what would need to go into it, and the overall determination was that it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility to make an Iron Man-like suit. There would be plenty of tricky challenges, and naturally it wouldn’t come out exactly like the suit we see in the movies, but it’s not so crazy that no one should work on it.

As to how you can actually wind up in an Iron Man suit in another 10 or 20 years, all it takes is a complete shift in your priorities in life. The lottery, or at least a lottery-sized influx of cash, is pretty much a necessity. But beyond that, it’s not about just buying a suit, because none exists. Instead, you’ll want to fund the research and get yourself on a board of directors with some influence on what’s going to happen with human exoskeletons. These things are being explored, and there are people capable of making something close to Iron Man a reality.

You just have to get rich and get to know them!