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The genius inventor Curtis Metcalf developed a high tech battle armor called Hardware Armor or simply the Hardware. He used multiple versions, which he labeled 2.0, 3.0 and so forth. All armors consist of two layers, a shell and the external armor.


The genius inventor Curtis Metcalf developed a high tech battle armor called Hardware Armor or simply the Hardware. He used multiple versions, which he labeled 2.0, 3.0 and so forth. All armors consist of two layers, a shell and the external armor.


The first armor, designed in a bid to fight Edwin Alva. After being forced to join forces with Alva, this increase in means meant he could redesign it into a 2.0. The third armor came about after Alva's death and Metcalf's short-lived retirement, to fight Tyrant. The fourth version was created years later and allowed remote operation, as Metcalf was recovering from injury at the time.

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The basic armor is a plasticized metal alloy of Curtis' own design. Using a device called the Shell Forge, Hardware coated his body from head to toe with this material. Once polarized, the shell served as a skintight, impact-resistant foundation upon which his external armor rested.[1] Though not bulletproof, the shell is highly bullet resistant and can easily shrug off small caliber gunfire.[2] Also, the shell somehow enhances Curtis' physical strength to nearly superhuman levels.[1] One drawback to the basic armor is that Curtis cannot eat or drink while wearing it.[3]

External armor

Capabilities vary per version, but in all cases, it's a battery-powered external armor that is composed of a highly durable, non-conductive metal alloy.[1][4] Equipping the armor is a multi-faceted process. After the Shell Forge applies the basic armor, Curtis then leaps into the abandoned elevator shaft connecting his main laboratory to the secret underground lab that he used as Hardware. His descent is reduced to a safe speed thanks to the inertia winder, an alien device supplied by Augustus Freeman that he installed at the bottom of the shaft. As Curt slowly falls, a series of robotic manipulator arms along the shaft's walls whirl into action to assemble the external armor over his basic armor. When he lands at the bottom of the shaft, Hardware's armor is fully assembled, powered up and ready for action.[1] From the 2.0 onward, the external systems of Hardware's armor were applied by nano-robots, stored within the nano-robot housing pods in his helmet and shoulder pads. These systems are constructed by nano-robots, microscopic machines that are released via main control systems in the helmet. The external armor is powered by high efficiency batteries called power packs installed in the shoulder pads.

  • Helmet: Hardware's helmet includes wide-range spectral scanning capabilities that enabled him to see in wavelengths ranging from infrared to ultraviolet as well as granting him telescopic vision.[5] This unit is fully integrated into the tracking and target sub-system that beamed a sighting crosshair onto Hardware’s right eye.[5] The target sub-system determines target acquisition by following Hardware’s eye movements and then fires on verbal command.[1]
  • OBIE (On-Board Computer): OBIE is the Version 1.0 CPU that controls many of the on-board functions of the Mark I armor.[1] The CPU is generally on Hardware's hip while its separate hard drives, up to six, are worn strapped or otherwise attached to his armor at various points. Hardware views OBIE's computer output via a heads up display (HUD) projected onto his right eye. This output is fully visible to Hardware, tucked into a corner of his field of vision, but completely invisible to others. OBIE can also display its output on external monitors like those in Hardware's vehicles such as the Skylark.[4]
  • DOBIE (Digital On-Board Integrated Electronics): DOBIE is OBIE's successor in the 2.0 armor and beyond. DOBIE can accept both visual and verbal input. Curtis used a new Artificial Intelligence Architecture to design DOBIE's Operating System. Thus, DOBIE can swiftly process huge amounts of data stored in its databanks or from external sources. By using its Expert System Architecture, DOBIE can also learn as it goes and automatically upgrade its operating system as necessary. Originally, Hardware wore DOBIE on the left side of his belt.[6] However, to better protect DOBIE from physical damage, Curtis hid it in a compartment in his right gauntlet. In the event of an electromagnetic pulse attack, DOBIE can reboot in minutes.[7]
  • Speech synthesizer: Housed in the chin guard of Hardware's helmet is his speech synthesizer which gives him his unique and chilling voice.[6] The synthesizer also enables him to reproduce other voices, which is useful for undercover missions.[6] The synthesizer can also translate foreign languages thanks to a built-in Omni-Linguistic Communicator (OmLinC).[8] Reverse engineered by Hardware from the communicator on Icon's crashpod, the OmLinC can analyze and translate any unfamiliar language, human or alien, in seconds.[8] This marks a vast improvement over the original speech synthesizer that could only translate languages stored in DOBIE's databanks.[6]
  • Self-repair Function: The aforementioned nano-robots replicate themselves into pre-programmed forms. When released from their pods, the robots begin rapidly constructing Hardware's external armor from the shoulder pads down. Hence, he can don his armor in seconds instead of minutes as was the case with the Version 1.0 suit. Once empty, the nano-robot pods can be used by Hardware for other storage.[6] Hardware's external armor is highly resistant to damage. If the armor is breached, the nano-robots composing it are programmed to replicate themselves to repair the damage.[9]
  • Active Camouflage: Hardware can also command the nano-robots to assume new configurations, which are stored as templates in DOBIE's databanks.[10] As a result, Hardware's armor can adapt to a wide variety of missions. The "Camouflage Program" template changes the armor's color so Hardware can blend in with his surroundings.[11] Other templates enable Hardware to safely operate in hostile environments ranging from the ocean floor ("Deep Sea Armor" mode)[9] to the depths of outer space ("Space Environment Armor" mode).[10]
  • Life Support Systems: Besides the external armor itself, the nano-robots construct the suit's life support systems including temperature regulators[12] and an internal air supply that activates when the armor is sealed for underwater or deep space travel.[10] The armor is equipped with defense mechanisms to repel anyone who tries to remove it; Hardware has said these defenses can harm even beings as powerful as Blue Beetle.[7] Among these defenses is a high voltage electric charge generated by the armor's surface.[13]


  • Omnicannon: This forearm mounted cannon fires a blast of compressed air capable of knocking down an opponent at a distance of 12 feet.[6] However, these air blasts are primarily intended to propel special cartridges or "shells" of Curtis’s design that create various effects.[1] At any given time, the Omnicannon is loaded with six shells loaded in a rotating drum at the base of his gauntlet.[6]
    • Stun: This shell creates a blinding flash of light and a deafening popping sound.[6]
    • Explosive/Incendiary: A high explosive charge coupled with a blast of heat.[1]
    • Octanitrocubane: A variant on the standard Explosive shell loaded with octanitrocubane, Earth's most powerful non-nuclear explosive. Hardware uses this shell to breach heavily fortified enemy strongholds.[14]
    • Tear Gas: A custom made tear gas engineered not to penetrate Hardware's armored shell.[15]
    • Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot: The outer shell tears away to reveal a solid sharpened rod of depleted uranium.[6]
    • Nanoacid: The shell contains a swarm of nano-robots held in suspension. On impact, the shell breaks opens and releases the nano-robots, which begin consuming any nearby metal, such as high-tech battlesuits. Thus, the nanoacid shell is an effective, non-lethal means for Hardware to neutralize armored opponents.[9]
    • Flame Retardant[16]
    • HEAP (High Explosive Armor Piercing): A shaped explosive charge with a specially hardened penetrating tip.[6]
    • Flechette: This shell's casing tears away to release dozens of tiny razor-sharp darts.[6] Sometimes, Hardware will coat these darts with a fast-acting anesthetic drug.[17]
    • Bolo: A nylon-corded steel ball bolo breaks free of the shell casing to entangle opponents.[1]
    • Knockout Gas: A custom-made chemical gas compound engineered not to penetrate Hardware's shell. The gas knocks out anyone who comes in contact with it for several minutes.[6]
    • Neural Net: A shell that releases a cohesive electrical field that painfully disrupts the nervous system of anyone it touches.[18] The field paralyzes its victim completely for four minutes, at which point it dissipates.[19] However, the average human will require another 20 minutes to fully recover from the paralysis.[19]
    • Complex Polymer: A powerful custom-made adhesive that sticks to and immobilizes an opponent.[17]
    • Cryonic: This shell generates intense cold to place an opponent in suspended animation.[20].
  • Energy Field: Worn on his forearm, this device creates an energy barrier that protects Hardware from incoming fire.[21] The field can withstand armor-piercing bullets,[22] energy blasts,[23] and even small explosions at close range.[24]. Despite this, the field is not indestructible; sustained heavy weapons fire will cause the field to lose power and eventually collapse.[22]
  • Plasma Whip: Hardware's whip is perhaps his most versatile weapon, which he can employ offensively, as a grapple for climbing, and as an extended arm for grabbing.[1] The whip is composed of magnetically conducted metal segments shielded with a non-magnetic housing. When a reverse magnetic charge is applied to the collapsed segments, magnetic repulsion instantly extends the whip and keeps it rigid. The whip is 15 feet in length when fully extended. By reversing the polarity of the magnetic charge, the segments collapse to a mere 10 inches due to magnetic attraction. When not in use, the whip is carried in a holster on the right side of Hardware's belt.[6]
  • PLASER: The Plasma Laser is a shoulder-mounted device that is easily the most devastating weapon in Hardware's arsenal. When activated, the Plaser creates a fist-sized globule of super-heated plasma that is trapped in a magnetic bottle and then propelled to its target via a high-intensity laser beam. Upon striking matter of sufficient density, the magnetic bottle ruptures and releases the plasma, which causes the target's temperature to increase by 10,000 degrees F in under 0.1 seconds. Most targets are effectively vaporized by the Plaser's blast.[6]
  • Retractable Sword: The retractable sword consists of four magnetized blade segments of varying length.[6] When a reverse magnetic charge is applied to the segments, magnetic repulsion pushes the segments from their housing.[6] The sword's full length is 30 inches when extended.[1] By altering the the charge's polarity, the segments are retracted into their housing. The sword has double edges that are kept razor sharp by an automatic sharpening mechanism that edges the blades every time they retract.[6]
  • Fluid Gun: This weapon shoots streams of various liquids under high pressure to impair the movement of opponents. Typically, the gun is loaded with Hardware shell alloy in a fluid state. When polarized and applied to the ground, the liquid metal will adhere to and immobilize anyone who steps in it. The shell fluid can only be removed if it is depolarized with the proper electrical charge.[2]
  • Flow Gun: One of Hardware's more unique weapons, this handgun is constructed by specially programmed nano-assemblers stored in the pods in his armor's shoulder pads. When activated, the nano-assemblers leave their pods, travel down Hardware's arm, and assemble the flow gun in his hand. This process occurs so quickly that the nano-assemblers look like silvery liquid flowing down his arm, hence the name of the weapon. Hardware loads the flow gun with non-lethal ammunition like stun pellets.[25]
  • Holographic Projection System: This device projects convincing holographic copies of Hardware that he can use to distract or confuse opponents.[25] He can also reconfigure the holographic system to project DOBIE's computer displays.[14]
  • Inertia Winder: The inertia winder is a device of Cooperative origin that can absorb and store kinetic energy.[1] Two of these devices are known to exist on Earth; the other is built into Rocket's belt buckle.[26] Originally, Curtis installed the winder in the bottom of the elevator shaft that Curtis used to a access the underground lab he used as Hardware.[1] This use of the winder became unnecessary when Hardware struck his alliance with Alva. However, Curtis did discover a new use for the inertia winder. While developing the Version 2 armor, he realized that its weight would be unwieldy. So, Curtis installed the winder into his own belt buckle. There it offset the armor's weight as well as much of his own weight. Hence, Hardware can move with unusual dexterity and agility as well move quietly in the bulky suit.[6]
  • Sonic Drill: This shoulder mounted device creates a focused beam of powerful sonic pulses that enables Hardware to bore through solid rock. By increasing the width of the drill's sonic beam, he can use it as a non-lethal weapon to harmlessly stun living opponents.[17]
  • Other weapons:Other weapons Hardware uses less frequently include tasers,[2] timed explosives,[1] shoulder-mounted tranquilizer dart launchers,[27] a liquid oxygen-fueled flamethrower,[18] a micro-rocket (a small rocket that attaches to an opponent's back and then launches him helplessly into the air),[1] a remote-controlled thruster unit (a miniature jet thruster that latches onto a fleeing vehicle and causes it to spin wildly out of control),[21] a rocket pistol (that shoots explosive mini-missiles),[18] a kusarigama,[15] a high-powered laser pen (that temporarily blinds opponents),[28] a neural net cannon (that produce effects like the Omnicannon's neural net shells),[29] a machine gun that fires explosive bullets,[30] a "nova burst" (an extremely powerful energy beam weapon),[31] his Version 4.0 armor (a robotic battle armor that Curtis could control from miles away via a telepresence rig),[32][33] a power source shield (that protects his armor from energy-draining weaponry),[7] and a field of ultracool atoms that can trap and immobilize energy beings like Doctor Light.[34]


  • Jet-Pack: The Jet-Pack was a personal short-range propulsion rig that inventor Curtis Metcalf employed for flight as the armored vigilante Hardware. As part of the 2.0 armor, he also had variants for underwater and space travel.
  • Jet Boots: Hardware's later added jet boots that enable him to fly.[35] Each boot is equipped with miniature jet turbines that gather the surrounding air and then expel it as continuous thrust. Despite the turbines' small size, they actually have greater range and fuel efficiency than the bulky jet pack Hardware originally used for flight.[7]

See Also

Links and References

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