The Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts recently released a request for information (RIF) for the development of exoskeleton technologies to improve soldier performance in the areas of strength, endurance, and ergonomics – while also increasing their safety by reducing the risk of physical injury.
‘The Powered and Unpowered Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation During Maneuver or Logistics Support Activities’ project seeks exoskeleton solutions at technology readiness level (TRL) 5. The exoskeleton should be able to help soldiers with high-stress and high-fatigue tasks, such as heavy and repetitive lifting, combat, mission support, and related jobs. Proposed solutions are expected to be:
- compatible with tools or other common military service load interfaces;
- should enable one soldier to lift more than 50 pounds (~23 kilos), or several soldiers to load and unload objects larger than 100 pounds(~45 kilos);
- enable multi-person load handling tasks to be performed safely by one warfighter;
- help soldiers walk and march while carrying loads as heavy as 99 to 136 pounds (~45 – 62 kilos);
- help soldiers carry loads as large as 75 to 90 pounds (~34 – 41 kilos) while maneuvering on the battlefield; and,
- assist soldiers in breaking down doors, carrying out close-quarters battle maneuvers, digging and filling sandbags, carrying injured warfighters who weigh as much as 270 pounds (~123 kilos), loading and unloading pallets, maintaining aircraft or vehicles at overhead heights, jumping from high places, and recovering quickly after parachuting.
More information is online at https://beta.sam.gov/opp/943d1bc778ac4eac818b251a898be0f7/view