Before getting into the really cool stuff (that is, the armor and weapons), it's pertinent to give a bit of background information on the history of the project.
Like many geniuses of high caliber, John and Mattie Batten were born years ahead of their time. A physicist and an metallurgical engineer respectively, they met in college. Finding they shared a common dream, it's not hard to imagine where things went from there.
Settling with each other after college, they put their combined intellects, knowledge and innovative ideas together. The first inventions were small - cheaper, better material alternatives for pacemakers and other medical implants, engineering innovations for high-strength structures such as bunkers and disaster shelters. It was enough to live comfortably off of, those small inventions. During those early years, their son Edward was born.
Their shared vision was simple: to leave behind a world better than the one they found, and to leave their son the means to do the same.
That vision was, in part, completed by a discovery that would - many years later, past the time their bones would begin to at last surrender themselves to the earth from whence they came - help their son to not only carry on a vision, but improve upon it in a way neither his mother or father could ever have imagined.
Research into nanotechnology at this point was still in its infancy, but even at this early point both husband and wife were well ahead in their fields - too far ahead, in fact.
Their key discovery involved the building of an energy harnessing system that operated off of the principle of piezoelectricity - electricity produced by certain materials when deformed by stress or pressure.
Their designs and ideas were sound, and by far the most innovative of their time - a method of harnessing energy by capturing other types of ambient energy. Unfortunately, in those long-ago years, things were needed to fill in the pieces of the puzzle.
A material that would deform under any stress exerted upon it by any outside influence - motion, impact, gravity, heat, cold, electricity - with piezoelectric properties that would be capable of generating enough energy to be useful, preferably one that would generate more energy in proportion to the force enacted on it.
A material to conduct that current safely to a storage device.
And a system capable of bringing it all together.
Their vision included designs for medical implants that could be used as substitutes for muscle, tailored towards people with muscular degenerative diseases, that would power itself rather than relying on limited power sources. Other designs pointed towards the possibilities of using it to generate power for vehicles, harnessing the energy of the car's own motion to power and charge batteries, eliminating entirely one huge drain on the world's fast-vanishing fossil fuel supply. Still others pointed towards floor tiles which absorbed the power of footsteps throughout the day, touch screens with similar properties - the possibilities were limitless, and they had come close, so close to seeing it realized, but for one final key they would not live to discover.
But where his parents would not live long enough to see their vision realized, he would carry it to fruition. A prodigy far smarter than both of his parents, it was Edward that would craft the keys to open the door his parents had left him to find.
The first key would lie in their designs - multilayered tubes wrapped around the right type of material. His research into nanotechnology - specifically carbon nanotubes - led him to a material relatively cheap to manufacture, yet with strength many times that of even titanium, and with the perfect mechanical and conductive properties.
Unfortunately, the problem with carbon nanotubes is that, while they have enormous tensile strength, structurally they're not very strong at all. Imagine it this way - if you try to stretch a garden hose out longways, you'll find yourself having a difficult time of it at best...bending it in circles, the hose is still strong, though this is much easier than trying to stretch it. However, if you pinch an empty hose, you'll find it collapses much easier.
Which is where the second, internal material came in. Not only lightweight and possessing the perfect energy-harnessing qualities, the material inside the tubes needed to be of exceptionally high structural strength, while still being able to deform and produce power.
The piezoelectric material took a bit more time and effort, but with the help of a former Marine and chemical engineer, they managed to come up with the second key.
The resultant material was a lightweight, pure thermoplastic fluoropolymer whose properties allowed it to generate not only enough, but massive amounts of energy under a variety of conditions. Not only was it lightweight and strong, the material could be shaped in a multitude of ways, with piezoelectric, thermovoltaic and photovoltaic properties.
Even more fascinating was the material's inertia-dampening and direct kinetic energy absorption properties. They discovered that a sample of the material in sufficient quantities by itself absorbed and redirected a large portion of the kinetic force of any impact upon it - if used to reinforce armor plates, it almost completely absorbed and redirected any force enacted upon it, amplifying it to huge proportions in the process. The resultant energy surge polarized the plating around it, making it several orders of magnitude harder for an instant before being drained away to be stored by the Sp.E.A.R.S. system, whereupon the armor would revert to its non-polarized state. The resultant effect, they realized, would almost completely protect any object covered in armor of this kind from incredible amounts of force enacted upon it, while providing a power source that could be, for all intents and purposes, perpetually self-sustaining.
It didn't take the pair of them long to come to two conclusions.
The first, that this sort of invention couldn't be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
And the second, that the applications for this technology were perfectly obvious. Between a former Marine and a (then) millionaire with a taste for crazy stunts and hopes for changing the world, the Ranger project was conceived, then begun.
One thing was still missing, though - the final key, something to monitor, direct and transfer the created energy.
And thus, the final key was created - Sp.E.A.R.S., for Specialized Energy Absorption, Redirection and Storage System, an adaptive, 'smart' computer powered by and managing the energy absorption, production, and storage systems.
Putting everything together - the materials, design, and software - took time. But it all came together, in the end, and that first suit was assembled and taken out to a remote swamp well away from civilization for the first tests...which were a mind-blowing success.
The suits in use today are a far departure from that first prototype, and he's improving on them all the time. Like any good inventor, he knows that just one tool won't do every job - so he has (for the moment) five suits, each with its own purpose.