In the last post we went over the Iron HUD components. There is a great deal to say about the interactions and interface, but let’s just take a moment to recount everything that the HUD does over the Iron Man movies and The Avengers. Keep in mind that just as there are many iterations of the suit, there can be many iterations of the HUD, but since it’s largely display software controlled by JARVIS, the functions can very easily move between exosuits.
Along the bottom of the HUD are some small gauges, which, though they change iconography across the properties, are consistently present.
For the most part they persist as tiny icons and thereby hard to read, but when the suit reboots in a high-altitude freefall, we get to see giant versions of them, and can read that they are:
The ground penetrating radar gun is a cutting edge piece of technology used by Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler for their field paleontology work. After firing a blank round into the ground, a second piece of equipment picks up the returning sound waves.
Those results are then displayed on a small CRT TV, to which they have taped a makeshift glare. A technician sits at the equipment stack with a keyboard, but no recognizable computer screen. Several buttons, dials, and a waveform monitor complement the setup.
After twiddling some dials, and punching a few keys, the technician makes the sonogram appear on the monitor, revealing a utahraptor velociraptor skeleton. Dr. Grant then tries to point out to eager onlookers some of the interesting features of the fossil on the screen. When he touches it, the screen fuzzes for a moment. It appears to be a very delicate piece of equipment in a very harsh part of the desert.
After Grant explains how the gun shows the fossils still in the ground, Sattler comments—foreshadowingly—that “Soon enough, we won’t even have to dig any more…” Enter Hammond and the ironic fulfillment narrative.
Iterate through the Prototype Phase
It looks like this is a very early version of the device, and still very much a prototype. This means it has a lot of issues: very delicate, obfuscated controls, and requires a small team dedicated to just making it work. It doesn’t look fully ready for the field yet…
…And that’s awesome.
This is the perfect example of a usability test: we now know that crotchety archeologists (the primary customer for this product) are going to want to poke it, prod it, and see a lot of detail. Those are things that, at this stage, can probably still be fixed and improved.
The controls, if that’s what they really are, still have time to be iterated into a usable format. We know they aren’t usable because even the archeology team struggles with it.
All vital information for getting back to the next iteration for making it better for actual field paleontologists. Until they’re rendered extinct, anyway.
There is one display on the bike to discuss, some audio features, and a whole lot of things missing.
The bike display is a small screen near the front of the handlebars that displays a limited set of information to Jack as he’s riding. It is seen used as a radar system. The display is circular, with main content in the middle, a turquoise sweep, and a turquoise ring just inside the bezel. We never see Jack touch the screen, but we do see him work a small, unlabeled knob at the bottom left of the bike’s plates. It is not obvious what this knob does, but Jack does fiddle with it. Continue reading →