Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR June 2010 Contents Exoskeleton
The Raytheon Company’s research facility in Salt Lake
City, Utah, is developing a robotic suit for the soldier of
tomorrow. The exoskeleton is essentially a wearable robot
that amplifies its wearer’s strength, endurance and agility. The
super-human suit is reminiscent of super heroes depicted in
comic books and Hollywood movies. So much so that Popular
Science magazine likened Raytheon’s exoskeleton to the “Iron
Man” depicted in the blockbuster movie of the same name.
Built from a combination of sensors, actuators and controllers,
the futuristic suit enables a user to easily carry a man on his
back or lift 200 pounds several hundred times without tiring.
According to the company the suit, which is being developed for
the U.S. Army, is also agile enough to let its wearer kick a soccer
ball, punch a speed bag, or climb stairs and ramps with ease.
Dr. Stephen Jacobsen leads this project and the Raytheon
Sarcos team. He sees his work as a combination of art,
science, engineering and design. “People call it different
things. Sometimes they call it inventing; sometimes they call it
engineering. Sometimes they call it being a mad scientist. To us,
it’s the process of getting together, understanding the problems,
goals and then designing something to satisfy the need.”
Exoskeleton test engineer Rex Jameson echoes his boss’
commitment and says he has one of the best jobs in the company.
“We get to write programs, and we see them working on actual
robots; that’s ver y exciting. As far as software engineering goes,
this job is about as good as it gets.”
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