Last weekend Avengers: Infinity War opened big in cinemas in the United States and other parts of the world, crushing ticket sale records. Surfing this superhero popularity wave researchers in the Netherlands have started a new open access journal called Super Heroes Science and Technology. In its first edition researchers present how Tony Stark could repair and create his Iron Mans suits using current 3D printing technology and how Captain America hero Buck Barnes could actually be cryogenically frozen.
By connecting research studies to pop culture like superheroes, supervillains, superpowers, scenes from films or the comic book literature, researcher Barry W. Fitzgerald from TU Delft feels it is possible to better engage the general public. Fitzgerald encourages researchers around the globe to submit their research papers for review to the Superhero Science and Technology journal for various of reasons. For example for the very reason that ‘combining current research with the superhero genre will lead to articles with the potential to reach a large readership demographic. The provision of such articles to the wider community will undoubtedly increase the exposure of your research.’
Cryopreserving the Winter Soldier
The Buck Barnes or the Winter Soldier is a superhero that ‘is able to withstand the biological impairment of cryogenic freezing’. But is it really possible to cryogenically freeze a person like the Winter Soldier has been frozen? According to work from Romà Valls-Suris, Maja Mehmedbašić and Ilja Voets from the TU Eindhoven is that it is not impossible. ‘The answer to the successful preservation of a real-life Bucky Barnes may have already been established in the natural world and can be specifically found in marine fish living in icy cold waters’.
In their research paper “Marine Fish Antifreeze Proteins: the Key Towards Cryopreserving the Winter Soldier”, the two report how fish like the ocean pout generate antifreeze proteins to lower the freezing point of their blood to survive in cold, icy waters. In theory when this mechanism would be understood at a deeper level it may once also be applied to humans. Nature has at the very least proven that it’s possible.
3D Printing for Iron Man
Aside taking a closer look at the Winter Soldier, the journal also takes a closer look at how Tony Stark could take advantage of 3D printing.‘The Iron Man suit is one of the most famous inventions in the superhero comic books and Hollywood films,’ says Juha Niittynen and Jukka Pakkanen in the opening line of their research paper called “The importance of 3D and Inkjet Printing for Tony Stark and the Iron Man suit”.
The researchers present various 3D and inkjet printing technologies that Stark can harness to fix his collection of Iron Man suits, and even quickly build new suits. According to Niittynen and Pakkanen: ‘Printing methods for the production of both structural and functional parts is becoming an integral approach of not only the prototyping and design of parts but in the establishment of new and sustainable manufacturing approaches.’
It is not clear when the next Superheroes Science and Technology journal will be released, but based on the current popularity of the pop culture genre and rate of developments in technology it will undoubtedly not take long.