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first military exoskeleton reaches prototype.

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posted on Jan, 30 2007 @ 07:56 PM
This is a bit old (circa 2005) But I thought it was interesting.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has completed the first prototype of an exoskeleton, Bleex 1, which will allow soldiers to carry 70 pounds of supplies on their backs (in addition to the 100 pounds Bleex weighs) while only feeing an extra five pounds of weight beyond their own. Carrying a quart of military standard JP-4 gas, hydraulics power the exoskeleton for 15 minutes of use where military vehicles can't traverse.

A new version is in development as the name Bleex 1 suggests. Dubbed Bleex 2, the newer version will allow soldiers to bear 200 pound loads, weigh half of Bleex 1, and permit those wearing it to move faster than 6 feet per second. Ultimately, a final version will employ a hybrid power source to increase its range.

Though this is a prototype and the first of its kind, I think it needs to better fit firmly around the body. But you have to start somewhere.

Of course this is the technology without nanotechnology incorporated into it.
Still is pretty cool.

Heres some more on the exo skeleton.

[edit on 083131p://1601pm by semperfoo]

posted on Jan, 31 2007 @ 12:33 PM
hmmm... pretty good i must say....

posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 12:21 PM
It'll never get bought if the final version looks like that.

We want proper huge exo-skeletons!With chain guns and rockets!

[edit on 2-2-2007 by bmxgimp]

posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 07:49 PM

I come at this from the other direction. Given that this is a _D_ARPA program sponsorship, the militarization of the system is a given and the 'saving baby seals from burning buildings in a hurricane' BS is just so much fluff.

The reality as I see it then is this:

1. You never want to 'lock' an limb segment because the biggest part of an infantrymans life is spent on the ground or getting up from there. This is particularly true of knees and feet but splayed hips and an arched pelvis during low crawl or prone shooting is also important. Speaking of which, you also don't want to be pushing 100lbs up using mechanical force, when a roll-and-whip (stagger up, run, drop, groan, repeat) inertial motion is quicker in displacing you from your last muzzle source position. If you are going to take the infantryman away from his mother earth, you had damn well better armor him so that he doesn't need to worry about the six-foot-tall-billboard effect.

2. Why carry 70, 120 or 200 pounds behind the CG (forcing the 'hunched over' appearance) when you can put 30-40lbs 'straight to the hips' as lateral paldrons/skirts. Hiding the arms, shoulders, pits and ribs completely from flanking fires and allowing stowage to be in easy-to-reach-across, INWARDS FACING pockets and racks rather than /trapped/ where an orangutuan couldn't get at them, on the backpack itself.

3. Similarly, why design your system to average infantry rates of movement (the 4-7 mile hour in good terrain the 1-3 mile hour in bad pace of an endurance march) when the point of chasing some Taliban yutz through his own north 40 is to keep HIM (naked but for gun and canteen) off balance so that he can't sprint ahead of you between cache`s or vanish amongst the rocks and sheep of his home ground. If you can run them down in a couple hours, you don't /need/ 4 days worth of MRE, ammo, batteries, water and the like. Which again begs the suggestion: More Gas. More Armor. More Speed Of Upright Motion.

4. Just how redundant is it? SOF could really use a mobility plus up on some of their 'killers without borders' type missions but the obvious disaster inherent to really stretching oneself out like that is having a bullet reduce one team member from 20-30mph sustained to a 5 mph 'limping gimp' with a 100 pounds of equipment inertias as he falls. And then a triple endemnity choice of staying with him (if he can get back up) at hobble speed. Having him go-Darwin as a lightweight runner while someone else alternates carrying him and his whole equipment load (giving you a 10-15mph pace for as long as he can keep up with 5mph intervals). Or leaving junior behind completely with the notion of E&E 'hiding out' while you try and make noise going the other way. Since you are waaaaay beyond official help, not only must you be able to select between fast, quick and slow FO modes but if need be, you need to be able to 'safe' the entire suit so it cannot be exploited.

If the unit can be optimized AS A WEAPONS PLATFORM, complete with integral vice strapon armor and fail operative redundancies, rather than as a donkey carrier for logistics, it may have some use. But such will mean acknowledging the need for a complete redesign BEFORE the software drivers and doctrine come together in a fixed configuratiuon optimized to a donkey mission rather than an armored scout type equivalent.

For motivation, I suggest one need only look at YouTube videos of the frumpy little gun toads waddling around in their baseball catchers outfits for 2-3 minutes before being shot through the brain by a sniper 400yds out. Rigid plate will stop things that soft-with-insert will not. And a slitted vision block approach or even an alumiglass armored windscreen would at least give these poor idiots a /chance/.

Something I think the USAr may well need to consider when Bush's fantasy of another 90,000 troops for the Army and Marines meets with the twin realities of no-volunteers to support the expanded target-dummy requirements. And no money from Congress for force structure that tempts a President to think he can glad hand his way into a COIN war he can't slaughter, maim and annihilate his way out of.


P.S. I hope it comes with airconditioning. No, really.

posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 10:25 PM

This is the very first prototype, its safe to say that this more then likely wont be what you see in about another 10-15 years. Once we incorporate nanotechnology into the exo skeleton, it will give the person wearing the suit artificial muscles. And will deal away with all the bulky mechanics that you see. It will be as light as some heavy clothing with the soldier not feeling the heaviness. As I understand it the liquid armor (2020 tech) will actually be able to create a cool or hot climate for the wearer depending on the climate standards the soldier will be fighting in. So AC and and heating are a possability.

posted on Feb, 4 2007 @ 05:10 AM
Semperfoo, what's all this about liquid armour? Are you proposing armour that can change it's sub-atomic particle structure? Away from a dreamy, think-tank, sleep-filled lab?

Do you have any links to back up this somewhat outlandish claim for
'liquid armour'?

Am I right in thinking that this 'liquid armour' has abilities that are something like those of the female terminator in Terminator 3? The armour can actually morph in to any shape?

This smacks - to me at least, of The Twilight Zone meeting Strange, But True.

posted on Feb, 4 2007 @ 05:51 AM
The Discovery Channel had a show which spoke briefly about that liquid armour. Also about camouflage as well:

2057 Future Soldier

Does the Bleex 1 have any relation to the Future Soldier 2025 system, or is a separate exo-skeleton altogether?

posted on Feb, 4 2007 @ 08:33 AM
Fritz, the liquid itself has to be applied to a material which will act as a medium for it. In this case they are applying it to Kevlar, the Kevlar is saturated in this liquid and it remains flexible and light. However when the liquid soaked Kevlar is struck by a sudden hard object it hardens up in that specific area and stops any penetration. Within a fraction of a second afterwards it goes back to being a fluid again. This technology is real, it's proven, it's here, although it's not quite perfected yet. It is currently undergoing tests with the US Army and it is scheduled to enter service in 2010.

Liquid Armor
Shear Thickening Fluid

posted on Feb, 4 2007 @ 06:29 PM

Originally posted by Mephorium
Does the Bleex 1 have any relation to the Future Soldier 2025 system, or is a separate exo-skeleton altogether?

Its part of the process. This technology is open ended, meaning that there is no forseeable end to constantly improving upon it.

And as far as the climate control goes for the FFW. Read the below article. It kinda has a movie pitch to it. Pretty interesting read.

Heres another site that goes into a lil more depth on the future soldier.

The Micro-climate Conditioning Subsystem, a network of narrow tubing built into the material of the Life Critical Layer that provides 100 watts of heating or cooling to the warrior.

This is the future soldier concept aimed for 2020. See the protruding structure below the knee? Thats part of the exo skeleton. Its a concept. So keep that in mind. It more then likely will look much different in 2020. It will probably be much smaller, and more incorporated into the clothing.

Heres a vid of what westpoint was talking about in regards to the liquid body armor.

This is actually present and functionable to date.

The future concept of liquid armor is much different.
It explains it better here.

MR fluid will fill small pockets in the Future Force Warrior uniform fabric. The uniforms will be wired to allow an electrical current to pass through the fabric. The electrical current will be controlled by the onboard computer system and will automatically charge the MR fluid when there is a ballistic threat present.

MIT scientists who are developing the liquid body armor say that it will take five to 10 years to make the substance fully bullet resistant.

[edit on 062828p://3102pm by semperfoo]

posted on Feb, 4 2007 @ 06:32 PM
More about the exoskeleton of the future.


Photo courtesy U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center
Superhuman strength has always been confined to science fiction, but advances in human-performance augmentation systems could give soldiers the ability to lift hundreds of pounds using the effort they would usually use to lift a fraction of that weight.

In the shoulder of the Future Force Warrior uniform is a fabric filled with nanomachines that mimic the action of human muscles, flexing open and shut when stimulated by an electrical pulse. These nanomachines will create lift the way muscles do and augment overall lifting ability by 25 to 35 percent.

"Think of yourself on steroids, holding as much weight as you want for as long as you want," said Atkinson. "It will also allow a 90 pound male or female to carry a 250 pound male or female off of the battlefield and it wouldn't feel like they were carrying 250 pounds worth of person."

The exoskeleton attached to the lower body of the soldier will provide even more strength. The overall exoskeleton will provide up to 300 percent greater lifting and load-carrying capability.

"The Exoskeleton, which is in conjunction with DARPA, will give the soldier more stability," Atkinson said. "It makes the soldier become a weapons platform."

With this added strength, weapons can be mounted directly to the uniform system. In the concept uniform (at right), the exoskeleton is the protruding composite material you see below the knee.

The exoskeleton will merge structure, power, control, actuation and biomechanics. Here's a look at some of the challenges that DARPA has outlined:

* Structural materials - The exoskeleton will have to be made out of composite materials that are strong, lightweight and flexible.
* Power source - The exoskeleton must have enough power to run for at least 24 hours before refueling.
* Control - Controls for the machine must be seamless. Users must be able to function normally while wearing the device.
* Actuation - The machine must be able to move smoothly so it's not too awkward for the wearer. Actuators must be quiet and efficient.
* Biomechanics - Exoskeletons must be able to shift from side to side and front to back, just as a person would move in battle. Developers will have to design the frame with human-like joints.

As warfare changes, armies are looking for any advantage they can get against potential enemies. The new Future Force Warrior suit will take human performance to unprecedented levels. Imagine a platoon of soldiers wearing suits that turn an ordinary person into a real, live superhero.

posted on Feb, 4 2007 @ 06:38 PM

Originally posted by bmxgimp
It'll never get bought if the final version looks like that.

We want proper huge exo-skeletons!With chain guns and rockets!

[edit on 2-2-2007 by bmxgimp]

What are you looking for something like this?

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 03:33 AM
when i think of an exo-skeletons think the video game halo
small and light is the way to go not huge and hevy

[edit on 5-2-2007 by if you knew]

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 04:21 AM
Wouldent two different versions be cool? One light commando suit and one heavy combat operations suit? gotta be prepaired for all situations.

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 05:37 AM
The only thing most of us want to see developed:

If you look at the combat gear combat troops are wearing these days, they are almost exoskeletons. The only thing missing is motoric aids.

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 10:20 AM
You send cute girls into battle wearing SKIRTS!YOU SCOUNDRELS!

Oh.The one on the left.gotcha.

Maybe that's an idea the suits could play with-An exo-suit in a mech-If the mech gets taken out,then you're still protected and mobile.

Of course,it has to look MEAN as well,otherwise how will the under-equipped mongrels know what they're up against?
All you need now is light-refracting armor.

Blades in your fists.

Mini rail guns.

(Or mutant genetically-engineered,brainwashed ex-cons,but that's stretching things a bit too far,right?)

[edit on 5-2-2007 by bmxgimp]

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 10:37 AM

This is the very first prototype, its safe to say that this more then likely won't be what you see in about another 10-15 years.

In 10-15 years, I expect to see fully autonomous combat robots which have no man to risk. Not least because the _software_ developed for 'intelligent ambulation compensation' (i.e. humans as walking teachers to toddling robot tech), when coupled to the _removed_ volumetric inefficiencies of the flesh-and-bone body the exo encapsulates, will lead to superior use of armor and structural/joint-flex elements. (lighter, faster, further, no opt-out or crying mommy etc. etc.).

Once we incorporate nanotechnology into the exo skeleton, it will give the person wearing the suit artificial muscles.

Maybe, but there is no reason to wait and much reason to assume that the need will change beyond all capacity for human-style locomotion if we do.

And will deal away with all the bulky mechanics that you see.

Bulk = systems enclosure and armor thickening options. Bulk is /good/ because it shows that you are thinking real world milspec loading requirements rather than lab rat demos like weeble-wobble donkey logistics.

Prototype fighters often fly better than their eventuated service descendants because they have no radar, gun, pylon rated hardpoints, CNI gear or all the other functional weapons system capabilities that a working warfighter does.

But they have the bulk to enclose them at a known penalty in weight.

Or they are not bought.

It will be as light as some heavy clothing with the soldier not feeling the heaviness.

According to your own article he already is down to 5lbs of felt carryweight.

I mean, how much weight does he have to offload before it IS a worthwhile system?

Your typical grunt in MOUT operations has between 40 and 50lbs on him, not including his weapon. That means an Interceptor, added plates for shoulders, crotch and pits. A quart of water, 4-8 grenades, a medkit and 12 or more mags.

Largely because he has a vehicle to carry the rest.

A grunt in the field has closer to 70 because he has to carry battery and ammo backups to comms and CSWs in addition to more food and water.

An SOF grunt on long walkabout has 120 or more because he is often on the wrong side of a border to be getting aerial resupply.

FACT: From the earliest days of Basic we are ***destroying the health*** of our fittest people (Serious back, knee, ankle and shoulder problems are all common, chronic, injuries that -begin- in boot) carrying /worthless/ equipment whose sole purpose for existing is, get this, _they can't catch their enemies before they have to make it a camping trip op_.

To which the only reasonable answer is: 'Well, /duuuuh/!' Take the damn mountain gorilla off your bloody back you morons. 'Traditionalists' in the infantry all argue that this is a good way to get into a fight so 'light forced' that you can't sustain, even until someone comes save you worthless butt.
To which the PROPER responses should be 'what kind of mix do you want':


Just like a tank. If your entire unit has 40mm grenades and a 1,000rds of looped ammo in 7.62 or even 10mm as a function of the SUITE NOT SUIT they are wearing, it is gonna be a pretty damn nasty threat that they cannot shock-of-fires pin down and then 25-30mph run away from. If you give them level-X armor ratings equivalent to 7.62mm ball, all sectored, they may well be able to slug it out deliberately to win.

The difference of course is cost. Because one man will attract AP or AT fires that will put down a vehicle 10 times his weight class. And two men will never leave their other eight buddies behind, even if they can break out of an ambush. But suiting up all ten members of a squad means accepting that you may only be able to afford half as many squads...

As I understand it the liquid armor (2020 tech) will actually be able to create a cool or hot climate for the wearer depending on the climate standards the soldier will be fighting in. So AC and and heating are a possability.

We have liquid cooling vests in action today. Marines wore them throughout the 2003 assault and the Iraqis thought they were supermen for operating in midday temps with all their kit.

Our Michelin Men door and roofgunners have blowing from a portable AC unit on the floor beneath them because they are effectively wearing bomb disposal level armor protection and would be instant heat casualties if they were not actively cooled.

Liquid STF and MRF dilatant fluid armors are also here-and-now but IMO will date themselves long before they are fielded, simply because there IS an impact force level (achievable with todays tech) at which the bullet either tumbles and shatters, creating such a large target impact area as to prevent the molecular bond stiffening change. Or in fact simply needles through at velocities which outpace said state alteration.

Give you are going to still be bruising muscles if not breaking bones with even small arms level impacts, soft armor in general is worthless in a combat environment because you are CIE when hit.

There /may/ be a purpose for an inner layer of such material as 'void filler' in a composite honeycomb type layered approach. But only as a function of backstopping external hard-shell armor.

What we need is the ability to regain the infantryman's qualitative overmatch _today_ against terror threats. Such a system should be achievable with macroscale systems, simply by INTEGRATING THEIR COMPONENTS into a hardshell exo unit that removes the discrete weights of belt-and-buckle web attachement gear and puts the remaining load directly on-chassis.

I frankly have no confidence in the R&D systems ability to generate such equipment on a continuous development 'for future fielding' basis because we have shown ourselves to be far too willing to abandon unsuccessful warfighting modes while _selling off_ the enabling technology which might make them more so (Netfires should have been here as FOG-M 10 years ago, now the Euros and Brazillians have it and we don't. Similarly Spike is nothing if not an offshoot of one of the AAWS-M prototypes. All because folks in the 'heavy artillery' guided MLRS/TACMS units felt their funding if not balls being shrunk. Except now we don't have those units either because they are too heavy for a light-forces structure...).

mod edit: added quote tags

[edit on 5-2-2007 by UK Wizard]

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 10:38 AM
If you're gonna do this, don't test subsystems of a non-integrated whole while waiting for 'superior enabling technology' to just drop out of the sky and flesh out the platform to a mission spec which then dates the existing hardware. Do it all at once or don't try, knowing you will fail.

Furthermore, THINK about what it is you are suggesting. An idea is only as good as its first-to-service temptation to monkey-see-do causes the threat to try and mimic.

If you wait for this stuff to become Steve Austined as 'wearable superpowers' type microgear, you are begging the SOA to advance to an extent that precludes it from being a unique advantage.

Not least because every Tom, Dick and Mary will be able to employ it with equal ability.

Only while the platform is in its early phases can you 'harden the moldline' in a way that lets its very definition of scale, manufacture and logistics support be the driving factor on whether the bad guys can make let alone walk around 'anonymously' while looking like an armored knight.

If nothing else, the Army needs to get their SIOS as they make ACCURATE assessments of what another lost war 'ala Vietnam' will do to funding and volunteer pool driven abilities to sustain, let alone expand the force. Pierre Sprey once said that a primary reason the Iraqi conscript force yielded Kuwait so readily was that Saddam had just traded away all the territory they had bled for and so, facing an even worse threat, they simply faded into the night and went back home, leaving 'regular army' units in the forward meat grinder positions with less than half manning (such is almost certainly where the discrepancies in the assumed casualites vs. rapid restandup came from).

Now, imagine a similar psychology in place, post-2008 after we run yiping from the PG and GWOT/GSAVE as an endrun on the Congressional exchequer is considered the biggest example of morons standing up to be fleeced in this century. For a nation where we expect /volunteers/ to be shot at for no damn gain whatsoever, recruiting replacement stooges to (re)fill out the ranks may be rather hard.


posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 04:09 PM
Thanx Westy. At least I can get some sense out of you.

I had a look at the links provided just gotta


Don't people know that's what you put in the rad of your car in winter?

It's bad for you! Here's why:

Abdominal bloating, discomfort, borborygmi, nausea - mild cases and
electrolyte shift - leading to:

oedema, shortness of breath, dehydration and cardiac arrest - in severe cases.

Let's hope they sort that out before it's issued.

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 05:11 PM
But they're not asking the soldiers to drink it.
Like they said earlier, you soak a kevlar fabric in it.

BTW, just picked up a cool Dale Brown techno-thriller at the airport on just this subject called "Act of War". Interesting if his description is anywhere close to the real thing.

posted on Feb, 6 2007 @ 10:21 AM

Originally posted by centurion1211
But they're not asking the soldiers to drink it.
Like they said earlier, you soak a kevlar fabric in it.

BTW, just picked up a cool Dale Brown techno-thriller at the airport on just this subject called "Act of War". Interesting if his description is anywhere close to the real thing.

Just as well! It would frekking well kill 'em!

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