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