Novel wearable exoskeleton can help soldiers lift 90kg and run at 16km/hPublished On: Fri, Jul 15th, 2011 | Hi-Tech Innovation | By BioNews
The US Army has developed and began testing a wearable exoskeleton that would give soldiers superior power to carry their bulk of war weapons.
The human universal load carrier, or HULC, allows soldiers to carry up to 90kg for more than 20km on a single battery charge, reports News.com.au.
The remarkable piece of kit is built by defence contractors Lockheed Martin and allows users to run at 11km/h for extended periods and even has a “burst mode” that takes the run into a 16km/h sprint for short periods.
On-board computers ensure the HULC moves in time with the soldier without the need for any external controls, and if the battery runs out the whole unit can be quickly packed into a carry case.
The wearer can carry out a full range of movements including deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting with minimal straining to muscles and joints.
The suit even supports its own weight, so a soldier wearing the HULC does not feel any extra load.
Testing of the HULC is currently under way at the army’s research centre in Massachusetts.
Engineers say the suit is not just applicable for the war zone, but could also be used in civilian cargo loading applications, and possibly even helping the paralysed to walk again.