DARPA has a program that is spending about $3 billion to create super soldiers. Here is an update of technology that is ready or is becoming deployable or usable for the purpose of creating super soldiers. Much of it is not from DARPA.
1. The Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC™) exoskeleton runs on Li-ion batteries, driving lightweight hydraulic legs with titanium structure. A wearer can hang a 200lb backpack from the back frame and heavy chest armour and kit from shoulder extensions.
According to Lockheed reps the HULC isn’t ready for prime time yet, being still “in ruggedisation”. However the company would envisage giving it to actual soldiers so as to get their input from the summer of 2010.
Users wear the exoskeleton, dubbed XOS, like a lightweight aluminum suit. Equipped with sensors, actuators, and controllers, the machine’s advanced software senses and instantly follows movement in smooth, continuous coordination. At full power, one may not only carry or lift 200 pounds more than 100 times without stopping, but also bend to kick, punch, or climb stairs and ramps. The Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation program began in 2000 and development centers at the Raytheon Sarcos research facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, with funding from the U.S. Army. Early prototypes are expected in 2010 with fully deployed versions by 2017. Smaller and more powerful mobile power supplies are key as up to now demonstrations have a powercord to power them.
3. Exoskeletons and powerloaders could be coming from Japan in 2015 Japan has exoskeletons available for senior citizens now.
4. Myostatin inhibition has been successfully demonstrated in monkeys.
The muscles were 15% bigger, 78% stronger and the effect lasted for the 15 month study with no negative health effects. The treatment produced no obvious negative side-effects and human clinical trials are expected to start next year. Myostatin inhibition has seen other trials where it has four times the effect of high doses of steroids.
MIT Technology review reports that a group from the German Sport University Cologne in Germany detected the real SARM (selective androgen receptor modulators)in a product called Andarine, available online for $100 and labeled as green tea extracts and face moisturizer.
Selective androgen receptor modulators have steroid effects but are believed to be safer, without many of the harmful side effects of steroids.
Powerbocking (jumping stilts, springwalkers) is the act of jumping and running with elastic-like spring-loaded stilts. For some it is an extreme sport, for others it is a form of exercise or even a means of artistic expression. The use of the stilts to perform extreme jumping, running and acrobatics is known as ‘Bocking’ or ‘PowerBocking’ after the inventor
Each boot consists of a foot-plate with snowboard type bindings, rubber foot pad which is also commonly called a hoof, and a fibreglass leaf spring. Using only their weight, and few movements, the user is generally able to jump 3–5 ft (1–1.5 meters) off the ground and run up to 20 mph (32 km/h). They also give the ability to take up to 9-foot (2.7 meters) strides
Guns and Weapons
8. The AA-12 recoilless auto assault gun can rapidly fire a lot of grenades.
The Auto Assault-12 (AA-12) shotgun (originally designed and known as the Atchisson Assault Shotgun). The AA-12 can fire in semi-automatic or fully automatic mode at 300 rounds per minute (5 every second) and has a magazine of 32 rounds. The AA-12 can fire 120 grenade rounds per minute with 9 foot blast radius. Having one AA-12 in each hand doubles the rate of fire.
New electromagnetic pulse (EMP) grenades could be adapted to the AA-12 as well, that would emit hundreds of megawatts of EMP for microseconds. A small e-bomb will be qualitatively different than larger versions. Radiated power falls off with the square of distance, so a target 3 meters (10 ft.) away receives 100 times the effect of one 30 meters away. An EMP grenade would probably only be effective for a 10-30 foot radius.
The institute’s research will be based on previous Darpa-funded efforts. One project, at Stanford University, hypothesized that humans could one day mimic the hibernation abilities of squirrels — who emerge from winter months no worse for wear — using a pancreatic enzyme we have in common with the critters. The other, led by Dr. Mark Roth at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, used nematode worms and rats to test how hydrogen sulfide could block the body’s ability to use oxygen — creating a kind of “suspended animation” where hearts stop beating and wounds don’t bleed. After removing 60 percent of the rat’s blood, Dr. Roth managed to keep the critters alive for 10 hours using his hydrogen sulfide cocktail.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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