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Old 05-14-2008, 04:12 AM   #1
DawnWarrior
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Default The Science of Repulsor Rays

Something I noticed in the movie that I wanted to share:

Every superhero has his trademarks, such as powers or gadgets or catchphrases. Batman has his batarangs, Spider-Man has his webs. Iron Man's armor has gone through many permutations, incorporating many different technologies, but one thing has always been constant and unique: his repulsor rays, the firepower discharged from his armored gauntlets.

Admittedly, the repulsors don't get much attention in the movie, except for one almost-passing reference: when talking about the Jericho Missile, Tony talks about how they incorporate Stark Industries' new "Repulsor Technology." From this tiny reference, I implied this:

The Repulsor technology is THRUST. That's what the word means, to repulse, to expel, etc. The Jericho Missile flies by this unique thrust technology.
When working on the Mark I armor, Tony must have incorporated the repulsor tech into the boot jets to make it fly (he would have had to make the repulsors anyway to make the Jericho missile they wanted him to make.) He would later incorporate the boot jets into the Mark II and III armors.
When working on the gloves, he explains to Pepper that they are "flight stabilizers" before blowing a hole in the wall with them. So the repulsor thrusters are also incorporated into the gloves to assist with the flight, which we can clearly see when he's testing them out, using the thrust from the boots to lift himself off the ground while using the gloves to hold himself upright. From there, in addition to flight, with a little tweaking the glove repulsor thrusters can be utilized for another use: firepower.

I must tip my hat to the filmmakers for making sense of all this, even if they didn't spell it all out on screen.

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Old 05-14-2008, 06:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

the suit was briliant. and i agree.

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Old 05-14-2008, 07:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

very interesing points DawnWarrior.....

I'm just curious as to how Tony "activates" the features of his suit ( repulsor rays, flight, missile, etc. ).

is it by voice-command? does he actually push buttons / triggers? is it done by neurological / mental signals sent to the suit?

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Old 05-14-2008, 07:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

I don't think the repulsor tech from the jericho was used for the flight, rather to propel all the tiny smaller missles away from the big one so they all gain their individual flight path and dont end up blowing up one another.

Otherwise stane would have used a similar technology to fly his own suit yet he just used simple rocket technology, especially since it didn't look too attractive on the mark 1.

that makes sense to me...

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Old 05-14-2008, 10:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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Originally Posted by Iron Avenger View Post
very interesing points DawnWarrior.....

I'm just curious as to how Tony "activates" the features of his suit ( repulsor rays, flight, missile, etc. ).

is it by voice-command? does he actually push buttons / triggers? is it done by neurological / mental signals sent to the suit?
I doubt he's got to the stage of having a cybernetic interface with the armor so that he just has to think and the armor responds(though I believe that's coming up in the sequel). In this movie it seems to be a combination of triggers and voice commands.

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Old 05-14-2008, 10:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

i agree. a combination of triggers and voice.

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Old 05-14-2008, 10:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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Originally Posted by kedrell View Post
I doubt he's got to the stage of having a cybernetic interface with the armor so that he just has to think and the armor responds(though I believe that's coming up in the sequel). In this movie it seems to be a combination of triggers and voice commands.
I think he could've already created a cybernetic interface. We're already able to read brainwave patterns.

Also, companies are already working on game controllers that actually read your brainwaves. Supposedly it'll be already available this year. So if those guys can come up with brainwave controllers, I'm sure Tony Stark could come up with something 100 times better.

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“NeuroSky” and ”Emotiv” are two companies developing systems that monitor the electrical activity of the brain’s neurons and translate the data into distinguishable commands, which are transmitted to a computer.

The California-based companies combined their devices with video games in which the users could control their avatars and cause on-screen objects to levitate simply by thinking of doing so. In a simulation conducted on the “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” game, players were connected to a set of electrodes, and were shown to 'cast spells' and 'move' on-screen objects using their brain. If all goes according to plan, we will be able to purchase these products already in 2008.
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IM he commands the suit with a combination of all 3 things. Voice command, trigger and cybernetic interface.

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Old 05-14-2008, 05:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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I think he could've already created a cybernetic interface. We're already able to read brainwave patterns.

Also, companies are already working on game controllers that actually read your brainwaves. Supposedly it'll be already available this year. So if those guys can come up with brainwave controllers, I'm sure Tony Stark could come up with something 100 times better.

Well I didn't say he couldn't figure it out, I just said he hasn't yet. This is a logical evolution for the armor in the sequel and also plays into Rhodey having it mess with his mind during the time he takes over as Iron Man.

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Old 05-15-2008, 08:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

Concerning his repulsor rays being thrust, I think they made it pretty clear when they called them "flight stabilizers", essentially no different than his boots.

The real question is, why isn't Tony propelled backwards when he uses them as weapons? We even see him use them without the armor, so what is it that keeps him in place?

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Old 05-15-2008, 09:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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Originally Posted by FNSpidey View Post
The real question is, why isn't Tony propelled backwards when he uses them as weapons? We even see him use them without the armor, so what is it that keeps him in place?
My guess is that they use a vastly lower amount of thrust compared to the boots, even then they're still pretty powerful; as you see when Tony does his test firings before he suits up in the Mark III for the first time, they do appear to have a lot of kick to them and he uses his other hand to help control it.

In suit though, it's pretty obvious that the weight of the suit itself helps to keep him in place; because, let's face it, we all know that a suit made from a gold/titanium alloy isn't going to be light.

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Old 05-15-2008, 09:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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Originally Posted by silverskull_86
My guess is that they use a vastly lower amount of thrust compared to the boots, even then they're still pretty powerful; as you see when Tony does his test firings before he suits up in the Mark III for the first time, they do appear to have a lot of kick to them and he uses his other hand to help control it.

In suit though, it's pretty obvious that the weight of the suit itself helps to keep him in place; because, let's face it, we all know that a suit made from a gold/titanium alloy isn't going to be light.
That's what I thought, too. But then they wouldn't be of much use against anything heavier than the suit itself. It'd be like trying to push a wall.

What's more, the suit's weight wouldn't be of help while flying. The only thing that could keep him in place is if he fires the other repulsor or his boots the opposite way.

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Old 05-15-2008, 09:26 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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Originally Posted by kedrell View Post
Well I didn't say he couldn't figure it out, I just said he hasn't yet. This is a logical evolution for the armor in the sequel and also plays into Rhodey having it mess with his mind during the time he takes over as Iron Man.
I think he's already built a cybernetic interface. He already did some stuff without saying a word or triggering anything. Just look at the scene when he took down the terrorists that used the civilians as shields. Or when he zoomed on to the kid on the Ferris wheel. And when Stance shot a rocket at him and he floated in the air, don't remember him saying anything like "Thrusters on.".

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Old 05-15-2008, 09:48 AM   #13
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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Originally Posted by Nathan
I think he's already built a cybernetic interface. He already did some stuff without saying a word or triggering anything. Just look at the scene when he took down the terrorists that used the civilians as shields. Or when he zoomed on to the kid on the Ferris wheel. And when Stance shot a rocket at him and he floated in the air, don't remember him saying anything like "Thrusters on.".
I agree. The suit does too much to be controlled manually and we never see a button pressed. Besides, most of the electronics of this film are way out there. If a sentient computer, interactive holograms, real-time translation and a one-man flying machine are actively in use, why would a neural interface pose any problem?

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Old 05-28-2008, 06:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

Something I wonder about the repulsor-ray is wether or not they would develop any heat as well as thrust, or just thrust.

What do you think?

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Old 05-28-2008, 11:28 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

Flares could be voice triggered maybe. But the reason he says "flares" out loud is for the benefit of the audience, really

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Old 05-29-2008, 10:48 AM   #16
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

There's actually a couple of references to repulsors in the movie. I know there's a scene toward the end where Jarvis is telling Tony "repulsors are offline" or something like that.

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Old 05-29-2008, 04:10 PM   #17
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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Flares could be voice triggered maybe. But the reason he says "flares" out loud is for the benefit of the audience, really
To be honest i personaaly think that him saying flare was an actual voice-command only because probably because it in the leg/waist area.So i think it was a voice command and not for the benefit of the audience.

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Old 06-03-2008, 12:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

Also he probably has Jarvis aid him. Jarvis seems smart enough to target objects or people. Also i think he says voice commands but we the audience just dont here.

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Old 06-04-2008, 09:29 AM   #19
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

After watching the movie many times, i can say that most of his suit's features are controlled in a cybernetic kind of way. I cant say how exactly it was done, but i didnt hear him say anything and i didnt see any buttons. I mean, how could he press any buttons? Where would they be?

In any case, i think that we are being pedantic here. The producers just didnt want to be Nolan-pedantic about it. They showed us most of the features of his suit and that was enough. We dont need to know every wire in his suit.
So i guess that most of the suit's functions are operated in a cybernetic kind of way. Its not like he is giving voice-commands for the amount of thrust he needs each time, nor do i see him pressing a pedal with his big toe.

I agree with the poster above, that the "flares" command, as well as most of Jarvis' role in his suit were purely for exposition. I mean, if he can control the % of thrust of his repulsors, he can easily control his flares! But on the other hand, Jarvis' handling was one of the best features of this film.

Not only did he provide for clever exposition, but he provided a character with which Tony could interract during his time in the suit. We could see his face (no need to rip his mask apart like Spiderman's) -along with that great HUD- and the dialogue with Jarvis further explored Tony's emotions.
To give an arguement for this, i ll use the scene that IM races the Monger to the sky. As i said above, he controls his thrusters. So when he says "i know the math, just do it", "climb", "keep going", etc, its mostly for the benefit of the audience. Downey did a great job in giving us the anguish and adrenaline that Tony was feeling at that moment.

For me, IM's suit is the best thing, the best gadget, the best suit i have ever seen. Not just because its pretty, but mostly because of the use of Jarvis, the cell phone and the scenes inside the helmet (facial expressions and state of the art Head Up Display). Really clever stuff from the producers there.

Oh, i almost forgot. I dont know if people are supposed to hear Tony's dialogue with Jarvis or his calls on the cell phone, but to me it would really be cool if Tony can only be heard when he chooses to speak as Iron man. Maybe they should make his IM voice a bit more robotic as well. I could really tell its him in there. In the IM game they ironmaned it a bit more.

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Old 06-28-2008, 12:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

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That's what I thought, too. But then they wouldn't be of much use against anything heavier than the suit itself. It'd be like trying to push a wall.

What's more, the suit's weight wouldn't be of help while flying. The only thing that could keep him in place is if he fires the other repulsor or his boots the opposite way.
Also consider that the hand repulsors are concentrated. When you fire a gun, sure there's kickback because you're firing a bullet at several hundred feet per second, but that kickback is absorbed by your whole body. Likewise, taking a force which was somewhat small but spread over the whole of Iron Man's suit (~1 ton, say?) and concentrating that down to a 2-inch diameter circle is going to make it pretty powerful.

The only problem then is whether the beam stays collimated (like a laser) or diffuses (like a flashlight). If it stays collimated, it would be more-or-less like firing a bullet. If not, the effect would be more diffuse.

In any case, I think it seems plausible enough without completely over-analyzing it. Even my investigation was probably too much thinking about it. It's just a movie, it works.

The bigger problem to me is how he makes a miniature fusion reactor out of Palladium Hexaflouride. Don't anyone answer that question - I've already droned on long enough.

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Old 12-03-2008, 12:51 AM   #21
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

A little late in the game to post a little info, but boredom affects us all.

If anyone is familiar with the comics and the original introduction of the Iron Monger. Obediah's suit had a computer assisted control, situated in a supercomputer in the area he fights IM.
Due to his experience in using the same methods to have better control of his suit and it's different functions, Tony deduced that by destroying the computer, the link from it to the Monger he discovers during the fight, Iron Monger would lose it's capacity, which it does.

So it's not out of the question to assume that as well as simple mechanical and voice controls, JARVIS plays an important part in using much of the suit. As JARVIS is a key component in the full flight stabilization and control, it can be easily assumed that JARVIS also has a hand in Tony's full control of all functions through a variety of methods, including voice and mechanical.

(Seeing as servo and mechanical assisted movement would need precision that negative feedback controlling methods may not have full well. An AI or OS would be an option to gain that precision.)

Though a neural type interface isn't out of the question, there still are other methods.

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Old 06-11-2010, 01:55 AM   #22
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

Given it is a initial prototype jarvis may act as a supplement to a refined Cybernetic control system. There are problems with a cyber control 1st you need accurate means to send signals and commands then you need a set of commands to be carried out. Choosing a command can be tricky because the trigger is and impulse but you need to send it the system then interpret and carry out the action.

In extremis story arc Iron man vol. 3 Stark is working on an interface that seems to work in addition to his original cybernetics with a kind of voice activation and pupil sensor (similar to a mouse on a computer) control. The reason for this I believe is to have a multi-tasking system to handle visual data and an AI to help carry out multiple functions at once. Even if you have a quick and perfect control over the armor doesn't mean you can do every function at once( or very well for that matter). Flight, weapons sensors motor control and AI are a lot just to interpret let alone control with timely finesse no you need a simple yet efficiently controls critical systems.

I believe that two major systems are necessary one for transmission of physical systems, avionics, power lifesupport etc. and a sensor/interpretation OS that manages commands and functions automatically and semi-automatically. The manual systems are voice command and neural impulses and eye movement. The auto/semi-auto are the computer AI and power control, targeting basically anything that needs cumbersome controls or lots of manual adjustments.

That in a nutshell is the long and short of how to activate or control most of iron man 's weapons (repulsors). This is only a educated guess and any comments are welcome.


Last edited by leading edge; 06-11-2010 at 02:05 AM. Reason: spelling and spacing errors
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:40 PM   #23
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Default Re: The Science of Repulsor Rays

wou y like the repulsor rays in the arms of ironman but this are sometimes is bored iron man need more arms or more things u can do whit the rays

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