The robot that makes man do more


military exoskeleton

Other
developers are hoping to enhance users’ existing strengths, with the DARPA
Warrior Web project aiming to produce an undetectable under-suit exoskeleton
for the U.S. Military.
Bionics
expert, Thomas Sugar says that medical and military exoskeletons are going to
become a much more common sight, and that exoskeletons for the average person
are not far behind.
“In
the next five years we’re going to see more and more exoskeletons out there in
practice,” says Sugar, who is also associate professor at the Department
of Engineering, Arizona State University.
In
addition to personal systems being pioneered in Japan that aim to give aging
people a spring back in their step, Sugar says, “Devices for the active individual
or ‘weekend hiker’ are on the horizon. If you live near where I do and want to
go out and hike the Grand Canyon, exoskeleton devices, 10-15 years from now,
could assist you to do that.”
According
to the CNN report, ‘if you’ve been dreaming of strapping on your own “Iron
Man” armour, you might have to wait a while longer. But revolutionary
“bionic exoskeletons,” like the metal suit worn by comic book hero
Tony Stark, might be closer than you think — just don’t expect to fly away in
one’.
Exoskeleton
developers – working in rehabilitation are leading the way, creating wearable
robotic suits that allow people with lower-body paralysis to walk upright
again.

The challenges constraining
development
However,
there are hurdles that must be overcome, among which finding batteries powerful
enough to fuel an exoskeleton’s motorised joints remains a key stumbling block.
To
this, Sugar said that, the real acid test for exoskeletons of the future was whether
the device could interpret the user’s intent effectively into action.
“If
you look at some of the devices out there, they’re actually quite hard to walk
in. You’ve got to make sure they really enhance people’s abilities.” Sugar
was quoted by the CNN.
An already developed exoskeleton to
redefine man’s productivity
‘Lockheed Martin HULC’

Defense
technology developer, Lockheed Martin, leads the efforts to develop a
exoskeleton fit for the battlefield with its Human Universal Load Carrier
(HULC).
The
system aims to divert up to 200 lbs in weight through powered titanium legs
while allowing the user to move freely.
health workers’ exoskeleton
Lockheed
claims that ‘a fully laden soldier will retain the ability to march at 3mph and
even break into 10mph sprint “bursts” while wearing the
battery-powered HULC’.
The
system is designed to reduce the stress on the leg and back muscles – a common
cause of injury among soldiers: it comes with a Lift Assist Device (LAD) attachment
that allows a soldier to safely lift heavy loads with the strength of two or
more men.
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