28 Jan
Iron Man suits may not be that far away

Holy crap this looks crazy. Designed by Lockheed Martin, the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) is a “completely un-tethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users with the ability to carry loads of up to 200 lbs for extended periods of time and over all terrains.” The suit is totally mobile and capable of running, squatting and kneeling without difficulty. It offers no assistance to the wearer’s arms, however.

The suit has existed for a bit but was deeply limited by its battery charge. According to The Register, however, Lockheed “will develop [new fuel cell] power supply concepts that will enable the HULC robotic exoskeleton to support 72+-hour extended missions…With today’s soldiers carrying increasing amounts of portable electronics – night-vision devices, weapon sights, comms – there’s an urgent need for options other than carrying mountains of spare batteries or lugging engine-driven generators about.”

The present HULC suits runs on li-ion batteries and normally run flat after only a few hours, but Lockheed believes its new fuel cell-powered version could go for days on one charge — which is the quantum leap in technology. “Stripping the batteries from a soldier’s load would free up the entire mighty carrying capacity of the HULC for more attractive options such as armour, weapons…Other accessories already offered include an armour-plated “ballistic shield” to be mounted in front of a wearer’s body, or “heating or cooling systems, sensors and other custom attachments”.”

Wow, I guess Iron Man business may not be that far away. I know this has its obvious military applications, but I look at this technology and think about its applications with stroke victims, and other people with mobility challenges. Check out the video below after the Jump, and try to power your way through the requisite military-style nu metal soundtrack…

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