09/14/2011 04:04 EDT | Updated 01/12/2012 02:18 EST

Professor says Iron-Man-like suits could become reality within 30 years

VANCOUVER - A University of Victoria neuroscientist says the Hollywood tale of "Iron Man" could become a reality within 30 years, with people being able to don a robot-like suit and control it with their minds.

Paul Zehr says the Iron Man-like "exoskeletons" will have practical benefits such as helping people with spinal-cord injuries walk.

He says they will also have military applications.

Zehr says now's the time to think about the practical and moral implications of the technology.

He will tackle the issues during a Sept. 20 talk at B.C.'s centre for spinal cord research and treatment at Vancouver General Hospital.

Zehr is the author of two books -- "Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero," and "Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine."