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Raytheon’s second-generation exoskeleton (XOS 2), essentially a wearable robotics suit, has been named one of the Best Inventions of 2010 by Time Magazine. The suit was unveiled for the first time in September during an event at the company’s Salt Lake City research facility. XOS 2 is lighter, stronger and faster than its predecessor, yet it uses 50 percent less power, and its new design makes it more resistant to the environment.
The wearable robotics suit is being designed to help with the many logistics challenges faced by the military both in and out of theater. Repetitive heavy lifting can lead to injuries, orthopedic injuries in particular. The XOS 2 does the lifting for its operator, reducing both strain and exertion. It also does the work faster. One operator in an exoskeleton suit can do the work of two to three soldiers. Deploying exoskeletons would allow military personnel to be reassigned to more strategic tasks. The suit is built from a combination of structures, sensors, actuators and controllers, and it is powered by high pressure hydraulics.