Sounds like something out of a video game right!? This is an exoskeleton and by now you all must of heard about them. They are lightweight frames that are designed to support soldiers carrying heavy loads of 100lbs or more, as tough as soldiers are 100lbs is still 100lbs and that will drain the soldiers energy very quickly. This is where the exoskeleton comes in. The exoskeleton that’s being developed by DARPA can help soldiers run a mile in just 4 minutes whilst carrying all their kit, amazing right? The exoskeleton supports the joints and muscles in the most demanding areas such as Knees, hips, arms and legs. This enables the soldier to move faster, be stronger and carry more kit without suffering. The exoskeleton is also designed to recognize when a part of the body is injured, for example, Soldier falls and badly hurts their knee, the exoskeleton would recognize this and apply extra support to that area enabling the soldier to continue like nothing happened. Obviously if they broke a leg or something then this wouldn’t mask it entirely but could still enable them to walk to, all be it painfully, the nearest place that offers medical treatment.
One of DARPA’s loftier goals for this project is to provide enough supplementary muscle power to soldiers that they can easily run a four-minute mile. The suit should be compatible with approximately 90 percent of wearers, both male and female. Using just 100W of power from a small battery, the entire setup should be light enough that soldiers will hardly realize they are wearing it. The only difference will be that they will be able to move faster, stronger and with less fatigue than they could without the suit.
The technology could be used outside of the battlefield as well, of course, to support firefighters and police, or even to help injured veterans regain some of their lost mobility. Check out the video of it in action below.
[youtube width=”640″ height=”340″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3Gz2yu5jUs[/youtube]
Thanks to Gajits for supplying us with this information.
Images courtesy of Gajits.