Military Review

SWSU develops exoskeleton for the army

The second international military-technical forum "Army-2016" will be held only in early September, but now the participants of this event are announcing new developments that will become elements of the exhibition. It is noteworthy that, in addition to defense industry enterprises, various other organizations, including higher educational institutions, will take part in the future forum. Thus, the South-West State University (Kursk) will have to show a new version of the exoskeleton, designed for use in the army.

At the end of November last year, Sergei Yemelyanov, Rector of the South-Caucasian University, told the press that in the near future the university and the Ministry of Defense are planning to sign a cooperation agreement. The military department became interested in the developments of university specialists and expressed a desire to oversee new work in this area. In the order of mutually beneficial cooperation, the Ministry of Defense planned to support new projects, including financially.

To create a new version of the exoskeleton, intended for use by the military, it was planned to spend several months. Already in the 2016 year it was supposed to present a prototype of a heavy class system. It was argued that the first version of the heavy exoskeleton for the army, at the request of the customer, will be created in the transport version. The system for use in combat conditions has not yet been developed for several reasons.

SWSU develops exoskeleton for the army
One of the exoskeleton developed in SWSU. Photo

According to reports, SWSU began work in the field of exoskeleton in 2014 year. Obtaining a grant from the Russian Science Foundation allowed the university to organize a separate laboratory for the study and design of new technology. On the basis of the department of mechanics, mechatronics and robotics, a laboratory “Modern methods and robotic systems for improving the human environment” has opened.

One of the main areas of work of the laboratory was the study of the creation of bioengineering mechatronic devices designed to rehabilitate people with disabilities, or to improve the physical qualities of a person. The main way to solve such problems is to create exoskeletons of the required appearance with the required characteristics.

An exoskeleton is a system in the form of a skeleton, a set of drives and control devices that a person can put on himself like other special equipment. Due to the special principles of the control system that controls the drives, the exoskeleton can take on the main load, reducing the physical impact on the person. Such capabilities of the system allow to increase the physical strength of the operator in the implementation of certain operations, or to compensate for the existing problems of the musculoskeletal system, enabling normal movement.

Exoskeletons are considered as promising tools that can be widely used in various fields. First of all, such systems are of interest to the military, since they can significantly increase the capabilities of a soldier on the battlefield and in the rear. At the expense of exoskeletons, you can increase the size of wearable ammunition or use a heavier weapon. In addition, simplified loading and unloading operations. In the medical field, exoskeletons can be used as an effective means of rehabilitation.

With the use of existing developments and new ideas, laboratory staff in just a few months managed to create a number of projects for new rehabilitation equipment. First of all, the experts paid attention to light medical systems. At the same time, the staff of the SWSU laboratory had to carry out a rather extensive work on studying the features of the work of the exoskeleton and its control systems. The solution of such problems allowed to continue work.

Already in the spring of 2015, the first version of the light exoskeleton interacting with the user's lower limbs was presented and tested. The capabilities of this device allow the 30-50% to increase the strength of the human musculoskeletal system. These characteristics allow the exoskeleton to help move the elderly or people with various injuries. In this case, the exoskeleton drives can take over part of the load, unloading the user's muscles.

By the autumn of last year, a whole complex of tools designed to solve various problems was created at SWSGU. As part of this complex, three products of similar design are offered, but with different characteristics and different purposes. New projects were created to solve scientific problems, as well as for possible use in practice. For this three exoskeleton differed instrumentation.

The first product of the family - the so-called. passive exoskeleton ExoMeasure. It is a frame of a complex "anatomical" design with a set of sensors that track the mutual movement of individual parts. Thus, when a person using this exoskeleton moves, the automatics fixes all movements. This technique was proposed for use in scientific purposes, to study the characteristics of the mechanics of the human body.

The second version of the exoskeleton is called ExoLite. This system is a so-called. Thigh exoskeleton designed to duplicate and strengthen the user's legs. This device has received several hinges and drives in different parts, which allows a person to get up, sit down, walk and climb stairs using partial unloading of the musculoskeletal system.

The third exoskeleton, created at the end of last year, was called ExoHeavy. This device is designed to duplicate the user's legs, and also uses the back support system. With the help of this equipment, the exoskeleton allows a person to get up, sit down and walk, even if he does not have the opportunity to move independently due to insufficient strength of his own muscles. Also, the ExoHeavy system allows the user to carry additional cargo weighing up to 80 kg.

According to plans for the end of last fall, ExoMeasure and ExoLite exoskeletons were to be tested at the beginning of 2016. After testing in the conditions of the university laboratory, it was proposed to test these systems and establish their potential in the matter of rehabilitation of real patients. This stage of the tests was to be conducted on the basis of the Akvila Kursk center of functional rehabilitation. The center has experience working with people suffering from various movement disorders. The new technology developed by the SWSU should have allowed them to increase the effectiveness of the rehabilitation of patients.

At the end of last year, the developers of new systems spoke about their production capabilities. According to the head of the exoskeleton laboratory, Andrei Yatsun, the possibility of the university allows to start mass production of new systems with the release of up to ten products per year. The cost of a serial exoskeleton is estimated at 700-800 thousand rubles. A. Yatsun noted that similar systems developed by other domestic universities and planned for release at the end of 2016 of the year will cost about 1,5 million rubles.

ExoAtlet system from Moscow State University Photo

Prototypes of new exoskeletons developed by the Kursk University are used in laboratory research and testing, and in addition, they become exhibits of the exhibitions. So, in December last year, the development of the laboratory “Modern methods and robotic systems for improving the human environment” was presented at the exhibition VUZPROMEKSPO-2015. Then it was argued that the new system could literally put on its feet even the disabled of the first group.

A few days before the start of the December exhibition, representatives of the SWSU told about the upcoming signing of a contract with the Ministry of Defense, in accordance with which a new version of the exoskeleton, designed for operation by troops, will be developed. The Defense Ministry expressed a desire to provide financial support to the project. According to reports, first, by order of the Ministry of Defense, a system will be created that improves the user's physical capabilities. Such an exoskeleton can be used for transportation purposes, as well as during loading operations. In the future, the appearance of a similar system designed for use directly in hostilities and having appropriate design features is possible.

Currently, several new exoskeleton projects for various purposes are being developed in our country. For example, the first such system to enter the market could be the development of specialists from Moscow State University called ExoAtlet. The device with a total weight of 12 kg will allow the user to move around, even with disruptions in the musculoskeletal system, as well as carry the weight of 70-100 kg. A special modification of this exoskeleton, capable of being equipped with an 35-kg armored shield, has already been developed. Such a device may be of interest to the military and rescuers. ExoAtlet exoskeleton will be available for order by the end of this year.

In general, the industry is looking at the future of the existing exoskeleton projects with optimism. So, in April last year, the head of the medical equipment department of the United Instrument Making Corporation, Alexander Kulish, said that the supply of army exoskeletons, greatly increasing the strength of the fighters, can be expected in the next five years. Thus, in the very near future, the development of a new technology may begin, which may become quite widespread.

The appearance of the army exoskeleton from the SWSU is still unknown. Perhaps it will be similar to the existing development, but we should expect a big difference from them. It is known that a sample of such equipment will be shown at the beginning of September during the exhibition “Army-2016”. Nevertheless, it is possible that the "premiere" of this system will take place earlier. One way or another, the Ministry of Defense can count on the emergence of a new special technology, which allows increasing the capabilities of soldiers in the solution of various tasks.

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  1. 7race
    7race 24 June 2016 06: 29
    All these exoskeletons of yours are an unworthy true Communist admiration for the corrupting influence of the decaying West.
    Give an individual teleporter to each fighter! Here is our goal and task!
  2. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 24 June 2016 06: 59
    First of all, such systems are of interest to the military, since they allow increase the soldier's abilities and in the rear. Due to exoskeletons, you can increase the size of a portable ammunition or use heavier weapons. Also simplified loading and unloading operations.

    Question to the author: the purpose of introducing a soldier porter or loader? All this skeleton needs to be fed, so the fighter will carry the source and nothing more, and the wiring in the battle will break (interrupted) or the hose-khan to the fighter. No need to transfer a direct projection created for a citizen on the battlefield.
  3. code54
    code54 24 June 2016 09: 25
    Yes batteries question! Something with the flywheel which system, like a couple of times I crouched, dispersed, unwound and poper already! )))
  4. JonnyT
    JonnyT 24 June 2016 10: 05
    without a power source providing long autonomy, the use of exoskeletons is very limited.
    Of course, there are pluses - development is underway, experience is being gained, but there is nothing breakthrough. Developments of this type have been 15 for years ....... the main thing is that all this work continues to progress, and does not turn into a banal drank with kickbacks.
  5. otto meer
    otto meer 24 June 2016 10: 39
    Quote: JonnyT
    but there is nothing breakthrough

    That's right. And until there is a source of energy (a battery, a reactor is not important), then nothing will happen. I have been monitoring the topic for a long time. We and amerikashki have neither the bad practices of the Jews and, in principle, you can already start something, if not in a series, then at least before the serial run-in. But the battery life is 10-20 minutes ...
    1. code54
      code54 24 June 2016 12: 59
      That there are now developments and operating models, so far only people with limited mobility are suitable, and this is perhaps the more important way of developing the data "stilt". And for the fighting ?! No mobility-maneuverability, no autonomy. Carry ammunition boxes in the warehouse, or will the soldiers replace a couple of trucks on foot? So what?
      Sometime in the future far will appear possible! In the meantime, before minuscating, explain what such deficiencies do in the army?
  6. Skubudu
    Skubudu 24 June 2016 13: 02
    When the battery life is 6 hours and the exoskeleton in the assault operation will allow you to wear very heavy armor 70-90 kg, without loss of speed, such armor will completely protect against the entire gunner up to 12.7mm. and large ammunition. When storming cities, such attack aircraft will become a nightmare for the defenders.
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 24 June 2016 15: 14
      Heavy armor is no longer needed - an alternative has been created for it - "metal foam" - a lightweight material, but very durable.
  7. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 24 June 2016 16: 18
    Quote: Vadim237
    Heavy armor is no longer needed - an alternative has been created for it - "metal foam" - a lightweight material, but very durable.

    This "foam" is already under a quarter of a century. If the Americans invented it, and the Abrams wear meter armor, do you think they are complete laymen? Study the material before writing any nonsense on the site, here it is enough without you.
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 24 June 2016 16: 56
      Kindly - far from nonsense - armored material from metal foam was tested only this year
      The experiment was conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina under the guidance of Avsane Rabiei, a professor of aircraft and rocket science. Scientists fired an armor-piercing bullet of 7,62 mm caliber in a piece of metal foam. The results surprised even the scientists themselves.

      “We were able to stop the bullet with material less than 2,5 cm thick, while the recess in the place where the bullet hit was less than 8 mm deep. For example, according to the standards of the National Institute of Justice, the armor is considered good, even if after getting into it there remains a recess of 44 mm depth, ”says Rabiei himself.

      At the same time, metal foam can be made in many different ways. Some pass hot gas through molten metal, others pour blanks using hollow metal spheres to give voids material.

      In addition to the increased strength according to the professor’s research, composite metal foams effectively protect against x-rays and gamma rays, as well as from neutron radiation. They also withstand fire and heat twice as good as the metals from which they are made.
      7,62 caliber armor-piercing bullet shot -
      1. code54
        code54 27 June 2016 21: 26
        They shot 7.62 at 50 meters in a bag with metal shavings (ordinary hlosovy, the shavings were not titanium too), and the bullet never went to the stand. And you say foam and nanotechnology! )))
  8. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 24 June 2016 17: 46
    The first metal foam was obtained by Benjamin Sosnik in 1948
    Rabiei A, Vendra L, Reese N, Young N, Neville BP. Processing and characterization of
    a new composite metal foam. 2005.p.369-374.

    1990 year, scientists at the University of California, Irvine and the California Institute of Technology developed a facility for industrial production. In 2004 they also created a model that withstands the armor-piercing 12 mm bullet, while the thickness composite amounted to xnumx inches.
    There is no talk of any armor. The article you are referring to only demonstrates the possibilities composite foam with Kevlar and ceramics. So you do not need to persistently repeat advertising articles and bury your head to yourself and people.
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 24 June 2016 18: 30
      So in terms of armor resistance it is in no way inferior to the VT32TVCh titanium armor, the density is 0,6 grams per centimeter cubic - that is, six to eight times lighter than titanium and table armor, for body armor what is needed - in the reservation they will come to this material in the near future.
  9. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 24 June 2016 19: 03
    Wait and see. So far, we can only think about composites with foam. But in terms of creating energy accumulators, this foam has enormous prospects.
  10. Verdun
    Verdun 24 June 2016 19: 52
    In two volumes. The first volume is "From the Life of Elephants". 400 pages. The second volume is "The Soviet Elephant - The Happiest Elephant in the World!" - 500 pages.
    At the level of modern technology, such an exoskeleton implies microcircuits and software. And there is software, it knows there will be people who will work to intercept control of such systems. The word "hacking" will take on a new meaning. Perhaps the expression "hack the fighter" will appear.
    1. Altona
      Altona 24 June 2016 21: 17
      Quote: Verdun
      At the level of modern technology, such an exoskeleton implies microcircuits and software. And there is software, it knows there will be people who will work to intercept control of such systems. The word "hacking" will take on a new meaning. Perhaps the expression "hack the fighter" will appear.

      If the exoskeleton will work as a rehabilitation system for a person with disabilities, a person with a disability or a person with muscle atrophy, then, in principle, you can make it from a power outlet so that at least at home the person will serve himself or do some kind of work.
      And about the use of an exoskeleton in the army, a joke came to mind, which will be important in the future. what are the physical disabilities of the fighter. The military commissar will say: "Never mind, fighter, you will serve in an exoskeleton!"
    2. AFG-X
      AFG-X 25 June 2016 14: 16
      For hacking, it must have a communication port or antenna. Without them, it is impossible to hack an exoskeleton. The communication system can be made a separate module that is not electrically connected to the drive controller.
  11. Pencil
    Pencil 24 June 2016 22: 57
    Without power units and power supplies, which also need to be carried around, all this is pure water from the perpetum mobile area. The brainchild of the engineers of the new log.
    1. code54
      code54 27 June 2016 21: 19
      And not only batteries! This is not Mule at 4 points. I’m not an engineer, but you can imagine, For example, the Stop of a person as a support, how many nuances to walk, and not only after all, on the floor even! And the fighter should not only go, but jump-run, fall, etc. necessary! And in the mud and snow. A pebble under the sole spun, a man will balance without thinking. Do exoskeleton and armor? Can you imagine such a goal at these stages of development? And book all the mechanics of the hydraulics?
  12. gavrik
    gavrik 30 June 2016 09: 23
    The main thing in the exoskeleton is the source of energy. It will be portable and powerful, there will be a revolution in everything. And whoever makes it first will make a sharp leap in technology development.