The US Army has developed a revolutionary new exoskeleton that improves a soldier’s aim with a gun. The Mobile Arm Exoskeleton for Firearm Aim Stabilization (MAXFAS) automatically steadies a soldier’s gun arm, cancelling out trembling without locking the limb, leaving it free to point at other targets at will.
“Army soldiers have to be able to hit a target at over 300 yards away,” Daniel Baechle, co-creator of MAXFAS and mechanical engineer for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland, said. “That’s more than three football fields put end-to-end. Prior to basic training, many soldiers have never tried to hit a target that far away.”
“Using the Army standard M16 rifle, moving the muzzle by just one-sixteenth of an inch will result in the shot being off target by more than 17 inches at 300 yards away,” Baechele explains. “So even small tremors can result in huge aiming errors.”
Early studies on soldiers using MAXFAS show a shooting accuracy improvement of up to 27%, and Baechele hopes to improve the technology even further.
“The far-future concept I envision is that MAXFAS could become an untethered device, perhaps with motors, power supply, and control computer all in a backpack,” he predicts. “MAXFAS could then be worn on the battlefield to improve soldier aim. Alternatively, the tremor-damping algorithms could be incorporated into an existing or future exoskeleton.”
Couple MAXFAS with the recently-developed smart bullets and the US could be building the next generation of super soldiers.
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