Military Review

Exoskeletons and smart gear

A modern soldier is forced to bear an increasing number of weapons, systems of protection, reconnaissance of the terrain and tracking the enemy. At the same time, the number of computing systems that inform the soldier about the current combat situation in real time is growing. Unfortunately, the soldiers cannot just take all the necessary equipment and equipment physically. Indeed, in addition to the fact that the weight of the uniforms is limited by its physical capabilities, the soldier still needs to conduct active military operations, moving easily and quickly to the battlefield. In order to help the soldier on the battlefield in the United States decided to develop a unique exoskeleton or "smart" jumpsuit that would help solve the problem of carrying weights.

Currently, the next "smart" jumpsuit is created by scientists from Harvard University, it is assumed that he will be able to help soldiers to overcome long distances, while carrying a rather heavy load on him. The work on the creation of overalls involved in the Institute of Bionics Wis (Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering), part of the Harvard structure. Currently, the institute has received a contract from DARPA - the Office of Advanced Research Programs of the Pentagon. The amount of funds transferred under the contract is 2,6 million dollars.

According to the published information, the new jumpsuit is made from elastic and soft materials. In order to help fighters move, reducing the load on their muscular system, new elastic sensors will be used to help determine the biomechanics of body movement. The use of these sensors will eliminate the bulk and solid components that can be found in other systems of this kind and exoskeleton, which very often significantly hamper the movement of the soldier.
Exoskeletons and smart gear

In addition to systems that have an instant response and provide assistance to a fighter while moving, the balance will be used as part of the jumpsuit, which will produce low-frequency oscillations that coincide with the movement of the center of gravity of a person during his movement. At the same time, the project being developed by DARPA can find wide application in the civil sphere. For example, this "smart" clothing will be able to significantly increase the strength and endurance of older people, who, due to their age, already limit themselves in movements and movements. It is also safe to say that these technologies will be used among people suffering from disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

XOS 2 exoskeleton

This costume allows its owner to carry tens of kilograms of various goods on himself or in his hands without any visible effort. Currently, the American company Raytheon is working to improve the second model of its XOS 2 exoskeleton. At the moment, an operator in such a suit, when loading and carrying weights, can replace 3 soldiers. At the same time, unlike a number of other developments, XOS 2 is capable of quite rapidly working out the movements of its operator, so that the person inside the exoskeleton does not feel trapped inside a very strong, but at the same time unhurried and slow-witted piece of iron. The accuracy of the response of the exoskeleton allows its operator to even play with a football.

The new exoskeleton, in contrast to the XOS-1, has an increased carrying capacity, and also has an increased ratio of the weight being lifted to the perceived man. So if at XOS-1 this ratio was equal to 6 to 1, then at XOS-2 it is already 17 to 1. Despite the fact that the exoskeleton itself weighs almost 90 kg (which is 10% less than the previous model), for a human operator, its weight does not exceed the weight of a regular jacket. At the same time, the new development uses less energy - by 50% and is more resistant to the negative effects of the environment.

During a demonstration demonstration of his work, test engineer Rex Jameson several times put and removed large-caliber artillery shells weighing 95 kg from a special stand, feeling at the same time a real weight somewhere at the level of 5,5 kg. All this allows you to perform hard physical work, spending a minimum of physical effort. In the same way, Rex Jameson, during a demonstration of the costume's capabilities, easily punched a package from 4's three-centimeter boards with his fist. Repeat this trick can not even the most trained martial arts masters.

According to Raytheon's specialists, soldiers dressed in such exoskeletons can significantly accelerate the unloading or loading of ammunition, fuel, water both in the rear and in the theater of war. The ability to transfer alone without the help of friends tank shell or aviation missile means that more people can be involved in other tasks. The first XOS exoskeleton proved to everyone, including the creators, that this idea is workable. Taking into account the experience gained, Raytheon has devoted all its efforts to optimizing its design, from the sensor system and the frame to the entire power drive. As a result of this, in their second development, they managed to increase the energy efficiency of the exoskeleton.

The extremities of this suit are driven by high pressure hydraulics, but the power supply is still outside the suit itself. So for now, the real Iron Man is still tied to stationary equipment with long hoses and cables. However, in this form, this costume can be quite useful, and in the near future, engineers are going to completely “untie” their exoskeleton from a separate power source.

According to Fraser Smith, Raytheon's vice president, the deployment of exoskeleton is inevitable. This product is extremely necessary, and I look at them as a completely viable solution to a number of current issues. The creators of this suit say that a large physical load on military personnel during a variety of warehouse and transport operations is a negative point, which not only reduces the speed of work, but is also an unnecessary risk factor and source of injury. The proposed exoskeleton can get rid of all these problems. In the future, the engineers of the American company do not allow the appearance of an armored and hardened version of their offspring, which will be used to smash doors and walls in hostage rescue operations.

HULC exoskeleton

At one time, Lockheed Martin created a universal exoskeleton, called HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier). Its purpose is to facilitate the movement of fighters who operate in isolation from their main forces. In such conditions, modern soldiers are sometimes forced to carry over 60 kg. various goods, including ammunition, food, electronics and a large number of batteries, which are designed to supply various electronic equipment. The original version of the exoskeleton HULC was powered by lithium-polymer rechargeable batteries, which powered not only the electro-hydraulic system of the suit, but also other military electronics.

This exoskeleton in the near future can be met on the battlefield. Its basis is 2-e "legs", which are made of light, but at the same time durable titanium alloy. The role of "muscles" in this exoskeleton is performed by the hydraulic system, and lithium-ion batteries are used as an energy source. The capabilities of this exoskeleton are truly unique and able to impress anyone - the total weight lifted with its help can reach 140 kg. The only condition is that it is necessary to properly distribute the load on the device. For example, a weight of up to 100 kg can be hung on the rear frame of the Hulk, and additional load can be placed on the shoulders of the suit.

One of the most important parameters of the exoskeleton is the duration of its autonomous operation. And here Lockheed Martin managed to reach a high level. The battery charge is sufficient to move at a speed of 5 km / h over 4 hours. Thus, the exoskeleton allows you to make a forced march in full display at a distance of 20 km. At the same time today, this unit is in the process of improvement. The main direction of work is related to the improvement of the work of the suit in extreme conditions.

According to representatives of the company Lockheed Martin, the development of a new power source for the robotic exoskeleton HULC company will be Protonex Technology Corporation. This company is faced with the task of ensuring the autonomous operation of a device designed for the needs of the military, for 72 hours. In order to realize such a long duration of work, it was decided to turn to the technology of fuel cells. It is assumed that the entire power system will be located on the exoskeleton itself and will be able to serve other electronic devices of the fighter. The development of these power sources has received much attention, since the existing solution with lithium-ion batteries is clearly insufficient for conducting long-term combat operations outside the city and accessible electrical grids.

It is worth noting that the company Protonex has extensive experience in creating compact and lightweight fuel cell systems, which are used as mobile batteries with a capacity of 100-1000 watts. The company's products are in demand in the commercial and consumer markets, as well as in the military sector. Such a solution in the form of fuel cells is necessary for an autonomous anthropomorphic mechanism with an electro-hydraulic drive, which is the “Hulk”. The exoskeleton microcomputer registers the movements of its operator and then controls various parts of the device accordingly, the flexibility of which allows it to crawl, crouch and carry loads with minimal human effort.

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  1. Slevinst
    Slevinst 28 September 2012 09: 05
    when the stalker game came out, I thought the exoskeleton was some kind of fantasy, but later I learned that such developments exist. a very interesting topic, I would like to read about Russian developments in this area, our probably are far behind or until they advertise
    1. Alexander Petrovich
      Alexander Petrovich 28 September 2012 23: 52
      yeah, while this guy with his exoskeleton moves, he will be planted a bullet in his forehead.
      1. crazyrom
        crazyrom 1 October 2012 23: 03
        Well, they explained to you, this is for unloading / loading boxes and ammunition. Well, or as a last resort for marches where there are few people, but there is a lot of cargo, the car will not pass (in the mountains). And before the fight they take off.
  2. erased
    erased 28 September 2012 09: 10
    The era of robocops and terminators is just around the corner. The science fiction was right. But how effective will that system be shown only by war.
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 28 September 2012 12: 37
      Science fiction always goes ahead of scientists, or simply scientists suffer from scant fantasy wink
      1. erased
        erased 28 September 2012 16: 53
        Exactly. I confirm, science fiction is always ahead.
    2. crazyrom
      crazyrom 1 October 2012 23: 05
      Quote: erased
      The era of robocops and terminators is just around the corner.

      That's just the point, already made robots so to speak (well, these skeletons), but why put a person into a robot? A person should sit in a chair and control these robots, in short, soon we will play real-time strategy, Starcraft! Only real robots!
  3. Strezhevchanin
    Strezhevchanin 28 September 2012 09: 19
    I think when exposed to an electromagnetic pulse (because it is more electro than mechanical) it turns into a super tricked ballast and your opponent, fun and fervently finishes you with a butt laughing !!!
    There must be something else, for example, biomechanical yes
    1. fern
      fern 28 September 2012 10: 00
      Protection from EMR, too, I think, sooner or later they will develop. And where did the Taliban get all kinds of generators?
      1. Tirpitz
        Tirpitz 28 September 2012 10: 08
        It has already been invented. For example, if a charge simulating EMR is blown up in the sky, S-300 complexes can still bring down targets and do not fail. In the West, this stage has long passed.
    2. Hon
      Hon 28 September 2012 12: 39
      It is not difficult to protect electronics from EMP, and in the event of a failure the exoskeleton is simply reset and the soldier acts like a regular infantryman. Any equipment fails, but this is not a reason to refuse it.
  4. vylvyn
    vylvyn 28 September 2012 09: 25
    The hulk is very good. Already passed the tests by Afghanistan. Compact, functional, lifting. Fairy tale, not equipment. And we still have - ringing silence.
    1. Tirpitz
      Tirpitz 28 September 2012 10: 11
      They went ahead by 20-25 years. Already in Afghanistan they are testing, and we are buying British furniture.
  5. Lich
    Lich 28 September 2012 09: 26
    Americans definitely want to create terminators from soldiers lol

    Although I agree that exoskeletons are useful and necessary equipment only from those models that are now presented, not one is not normal. For example, the XOS Exoskeleton, in my opinion, is not suitable for a march of throws and military operations in the field, and you get tired of carrying the battery for it, but it is good in terms of support, as was said for loading unloading heavy equipment.
    The HULC exoskeleton is quite an interesting model, but again it requires a lot of energy, although it is more compact it is plus (The battery charge is enough to move at a speed of 5 km / h for 4 hours. Thus, the exoskeleton allows you to make a march throw in full calculation at a distance up to 20 km.) on the occasion of the march, moving at such a speed can be normal for the Americans, we don’t. In general, I hope that soon they will create an exoskeleton that can move quickly and withstand heavy loads, be not whimsical and be self sufficient in terms of energy to use it, and then it will just be an irreplaceable thing in the sun !!!
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 28 September 2012 12: 40
      All ahead, remember the first planes, dashing trouble is the beginning.
    2. Mr. Truth
      Mr. Truth 29 September 2012 12: 18
      For the cast march, the best thing that amers have is M113A3, if the pentagon had the brains to refine this car to MTVL level, no one would invent such a heresy, it's all from the notorious American No-Go and love for overweight strikers, snacks and booked Humvee.
    3. Blat
      Blat 8 October 2012 21: 42
      Well, I looked, I would have looked at a fighter with a calculation of 100 kg, and this is exactly the cargo that is attached to the back of the hulk. If without an ekzoskeleton how long will his march throw))))))))))))))) 20) km is not enough with such a calculation?)))))))))))))))))
  6. AK-74-1
    AK-74-1 28 September 2012 09: 43
    Exoskeletons are the future. Most likely the future belongs to mechanical devices. Electronic equipment on the battlefield and in the front-line zone will be jammed first of all by our own and others. An integrated system "body armor-exoskeleton" based on the mechanical properties of materials is the most realistic complex.
  7. gorkoxnumx
    gorkoxnumx 28 September 2012 10: 12
    Only progress and only forward for real scientists is nothing impossible.
  8. Lexagun
    Lexagun 28 September 2012 10: 51
    Batteries, in addition to their high cost and significant weight, have other disadvantages, explosiveness and propensity to fire, no less than fuel options. Even the best samples have a low rate of return and reception of a charge, that is, it is not enough to have a capacious battery so that it can also be able to give off as much energy as is needed to perform significant work. But hybrid options based on compact engines running on a generator and using not batteries as an intermediate storage, but packets of capacitors (capable of instantaneous discharge and charge with a significant number of cycles) are much more promising. protection of tanks with fuel is simpler than batteries, the engine can be multi-fuel, and with a sufficiently high specific power, and the rejection of hydraulics in favor of electric actuators will make the system less vulnerable, the availability of electricity "at hand" will allow such a soldier to be equipped with a variety of devices to control the surrounding space, control connections and even energy weapons or at least electric drives to powder. You can calculate the likely firepower yourself and this while maintaining low visibility (especially only on electric traction), low visibility and high autonomy. The best capacitors, if my memory serves me, are they doing with us?
  9. Suvorov000
    Suvorov000 28 September 2012 12: 01
    Energy all depends on it, until they create a good source of power, all this will be so in single versions, as soon as they create it here and just then the terminators and gundams and flights outside our universe really go, and for now we sit and charge the batteries) )))
  10. aksakal
    aksakal 28 September 2012 14: 13
    Quote: Suvorov000
    Energy all depends on it, until they create a good source of power, all this will be so in single versions, as soon as they create it here and just then the terminators and gundams and flights outside our universe really go, and for now we sit and charge the batteries) )))

    - I agree, nothing has been invented yet. Although there are ultra-compact energy items from Yap with uranium - as you might guess, naturally, nuclear, but they are unlikely to be applied. The proximity of the uranium to the body is unlikely to please soldiers, if a power unit of such an exoskeleton is damaged on the battlefield, a focus of radioactive contamination is obtained .... In general, we do not consider a nuclear feature, although uranium is simply an unrivaled material in terms of energy intensity - in one gram of energy it’s enough that even a soldier with XOS equipment could run for more than a year.
    But other things are not thought up. Fuel cells also have a bunch of flaws. In short, in my opinion, it is not soon that a thread will be invented in this area. Therefore about
    Quote: vylvyn
    Fairy tale, not equipment. And we still have - ringing silence.

    - We do not panic greatly, but some research work still needs to be started.
  11. Darck
    Darck 28 September 2012 16: 15
    Video on the topic.

  12. Kir
    Kir 28 September 2012 21: 08
    At the next stage, I suggest that Amers come up with a device that facilitates or even replaces the brain of the average Amer !, otherwise the muscles are full of strength, and the down brain, although generally correct most often, the dumber the stronger the peculiar law of compensation !!!, MDA. And if, without jokes, something similar for Cosmos was also designed for us under the USSR, I wonder how it all ended or is going on?
  13. plump
    plump 29 September 2012 08: 11
    For artillery calculations, in my opinion, this is the perfect equipment. Yes, I was thinking about this: the next war will be entirely for the "bespectacled". One nerd armed with electronics and brains would be worth a company of bull-like thugs. And such equipment will soon become commonplace.
    By the way, are our developers encrypted, or again, the hope for shtirlits and radio operators cat?
    1. Mr. Truth
      Mr. Truth 29 September 2012 12: 14
      In the next war, the calculation of the towed gun has nothing to do.
      But self-propelled guns like the German "panzergaubitse" with the second link with the BPR is the thing.
  14. Darck
    Darck 29 September 2012 11: 51
    By the way, are our developers encrypted, or again, the hope for shtirlits and radio operators cat?

    Yes, not there, it’s all the same normal, the Russian Federation took the lead and creates an exoskeleton that will control a person)
  15. Mr. Truth
    Mr. Truth 29 September 2012 12: 12
    What is not done in the Pentagon, just not to break the monopoly of its "motorists".
  16. mrAnderson
    mrAnderson 1 October 2012 13: 24
    Now they are actively used in the United States in medicine, to restore the disabled. And so you give exomachines to artillerymen and warehouse workers, but not advanced.
  17. pinachet
    pinachet 13 October 2012 17: 05
    It’s interesting, but after using nuclear weapons or other ammunition that disable electronics, how will all these pribluds fight?? It seems to me that a modern NATO soldier doesn’t even go to the toilet without GPS, not to mention the fact that the gun’s commander would use pencil to calculate firing done ..)))
  18. T1GER_1
    T1GER_1 18 October 2012 19: 47
    Russia will need to invent something simpler like Kalashnikov. I myself don’t really like the ideas of batteries and some other limiters. It would be possible to work more towards hydraulics and other workflows with no sensors and computers. For example, that spring garbage that is worn on the legs and allows a person to move very quickly. It’s just good to think about how you can increase the strength of a soldier without the help of computers, if, of course, this is possible ...
  19. georg737577
    georg737577 19 October 2012 11: 19
    A group of American soldiers equipped with the most advanced technology, walks along the Iraqi street. They have exoskeletons, helmets with video cameras and computer aiming systems, in their hands - a futuristic type of rifle, etc. A boy comes up, asks; “Uncle, why are you dressed like that?” The squad leader stops, picks up the helmet visor, unfastens the gas mask, wipes the sweat from his face, and answers. - You see, kid, first of all - it's beautiful ....
  20. KRAVEN333
    KRAVEN333 10 November 2012 21: 27
    In war they will be very useful.
  21. ermak05
    ermak05 23 January 2013 22: 58
    Not bad at all.