Layers of smart materials in the special, "Iron Man" suits would help monitor soldiers' temperature, hydration levels, and heart rate. Hydraulics would likely be used in the exoskeleton of the suit to increase the soldiers' strength. Reuters

The U.S. Army may soon equip soldiers with innovative smart armor strong enough to challenge Iron Man himself -- well almost.

Army officials are requesting help from the tech industry, government labs and even university scientists and engineers to help develop and design the suit, the BBC reports. Named the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (Talos), the suit would allow soldiers to carry heavy loads at a quicker pace as well as feature several layers of smart materials that would be able to monitor soldiers’ vital signs and hydration levels. Hydraulics would likely be used in the exoskeleton of the suit -- which would attach to the arms and legs -- increasing the strength of the soldier wearing it.

"The requirement is a comprehensive family of systems in a combat armor suit where we bring together an exoskeleton with innovative armor, displays for power monitoring, health monitoring, and integrating a weapon into that," said Lt. Col. Karl Borjes, a science adviser at the Army's research, development and engineering command. "It's advanced armor. It's communications, antennas. It's cognitive performance. Its sensors, miniature-type circuits. That's all going to fit in here, too."

The project will have to be a collaborative effort, with U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Chris Faris stressing that "no one industry can build it." Thus, a host of research organizations, labs and academic institutions are being tapped to help develop the project, reports Discovery News. The Army said that Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists would probably help design the suit that the Army hopes will be in use within the next three years.