Russia has combat tested passive exoskeleton and electrically modified camouflage

Russia’s Rostec showed off a passive exoskeleton which increases physical abilities of a soldier, protects joints and the spine and was already tested in combat. It is the third generation Ratnik infantry combat suite.

The exoskeleton is made of lightweight carbon fiber and supports the musculoskeletal system when a person carries weights up to 50 kg (packs, special gear, armaments and ammunition) during long marches and assaults. It is a mechanical device with levers and swivels in the shape of human joints.

The helmet prototype is able to change color depending on the color of its surrounding environment. It has electrically activated color changing material.

The passive exoskeleton has no power sources, servomotors, electronics and various sensors. This makes it more reliable and light (4 to 8 kg depending on the configuration). It is absolutely autonomous and easy to maintain.

Industrial Director of the Armament Cluster of Rostec Sergey Abramov claims it has already been tested during real military operations. The exoskeleton was tested by special detachments of the Russian Ministry of Defense and Internal Affairs bodies in years 2017-2018. In addition, an active exoskeleton is also being designed, and its working prototype has already been made by Rostec’s enterprise.

Rostec is a $22 billion company (1.59 trillion rubles in revenue. 67 rubles is 1 USD).

US will have powered, Titanium tactical special ops TALON assault exoskeleton late in 2018

The US Special Forces is building the TALOS (tactical assault light operator suit) exoskeleton.

The suit has :
* physiological and biological sensors
* actuators that serve as the muscles to power the suit
* processors and computers,
* and a durable exoskeleton that offers support to the operator.
* the helmet has thin, transparent glass with ballistic protection and a heads-up display

It will provide protection against shrapnel and small arms fire, but could be targeted by an electromagnetic pulse weapon.

Special force exoskeletons have need to operate under for shorter times than Army exoskeletons would.

Powered knee joints could help armored exoskeleton wearers to climb 100 flights of stairs and then still engage in combat.

A commando might only need to breach a fortification and be involved in a short fight of an hour or less.

An Army soldier could need powered exoskeletons to operate for days between recharging.

US has powered lower-body exoskeletons and soft exosuits

Lockheed Martin ONYX powered lower-body exoskeleton can increase mobility and reduce fatigue of its users.

ONYX detects what the body is doing and provides support at the exact time it is needed. Sensors distributed on the exoskeleton report speed, direction, and angle of movement to an on-board computer that drives electro-mechanical actuators at the knees. The exoskeleton delivers the right torque at the right time to assist knee flexion and extension. ONYX ultimately reduces the energy needed to cross terrain, squat, or kneel. These benefits are most noticeable when ascending or descending stairs or navigating inclined surfaces.

ONYX syncs up with the user. It will be improved even more. It takes 75 milliseconds for the human body to go from thought to action. Speeding up ONYX will improve the impact on human endurance.

Military exoskeletons could finally arrive ten years after the Lockheed HULC exoskeleton first appeared.

Currently it improved VO2-max by nine percent and the powered system lasts for 16 hours when using four batteries.

The ONYX system weighs less than 14 pounds.

The current net benefit is a soldier who could normally perform 26 reps of 185-lb squats could perform 72 similar reps while wearing ONYX.

During a demonstration of the suit last week, people can perform an essentially effortless squat and it could allow an hour of effortless squatting.

Lockheed is currently working on
* hardening the components so they can withstand battlefield use
* improving the harnessing so it’s even more discreet and unobtrusive
* tweaking the fitting process to ensure that soldiers can properly adjust it without tools

ONYX will soon use a common electro-mechanical structure and control software, which will be customized for firefighting, logistics, and military load transport. ONYX is being upgraded to use military-specification batteries that are approved for infantry use, to ruggedize and improve control box ergonomics, and to incorporate faster actuators that generate more torque.

Robotic third arm

A robotic third arm appears to be highly useful. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is developing it. It weighs less than four pounds and hangs at a soldier’s side, stabilizes rifles and machine guns. It lifts over 27 pounds.

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