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The Military Robotics Technology

HULC Robotic Exoskeleton MK II Undergoing Tests 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-know-what-i'm-getting-grandma-for-christmas-this-year dept.
fergus07 writes "Lockheed Martin is putting an updated, ruggedized version of its HULC Robotic Exoskeleton through lab evaluation tests. The hydraulic 'power-suit,' which enables the wearer to carry up to 200 lbs and run at 10 mph, now boasts better protection from the elements, improved fitting and easier adjustment, increased run-time and new control software."
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HULC Robotic Exoskeleton MK II Undergoing Tests

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  • They state the payload in pounds. Boring. Where are the weapon systems?

    Where is the shoulder mounted gun with HUD fire control?

    This thing needs a shoulder mounted heavy gun with auto-stability and HUD based targeting.
    Not to mention vertical launch munitions with precision placement.

    • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
      Don't worry, you'll see all that being "tested" in the next war they buy.
      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Don't worry, you'll see all that being "tested" in the next war they buy.

        You mean in Iran or America?

      • "Don't worry, you'll see all that being "tested" in the next war they buy."

        I don't think it will be the next one but the next after that.

        Did you notice they are photographs, not video there?

        Why do you think that's the case? Maybe because it looks good enough while standing still but once you see it moving you understand there's no way the military would use it in real combat?

    • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @02:22PM (#34074204) Homepage

      Why are those things necessary?

      If you look at "kill ratios", the US soldier (moreso the US Marine) is quite effective as it stands.

      A HUD with targeting/fire control wouldn't prove entirely useful until Friend/Foe systems are worked out to the point of being infallible.

      You're not going to get any vertical launch munitions with a mere 200lb payload, and they wouldn't be terribly effective without substantial control systems. (For instance, SAW alone is going to weigh in at 20lb or so. Ammo for that is going to be another 50lb-100lb. Add in gyros for stabilizing and aiming/etc. controls, and you're looking at the full support weight of the system. It's never good to design to the system's maximum capabilities.)

      And, guess what? All that would rely on vertical support systems, and communication with them. If you're sending data to request data, the enemy can detect your location. The ability to detect your enemy's location is a big part of being able to effectively kill them.

      What this will do is making existing soldiers more capable on their own. They will have motorized assistance to carry their 80lb rucks, so they will be able to do everything they do today - faster, more agilely, and for a longer period of time - without being exhausted in combat.

      For this thing to be effective in combat, what they need to do now is figure out a means to make it self-carrying (say, a 'low power' mode that would only support its own weight + a little, relying on the soldier to do the rest, combined with solar trickle charging), and improve its ability to hold things independently/not use those stupid pads. This way it'd improve effectiveness without actually interfering when not directly in use. (Soldiers spend a lot more time just standing around and walking than they do fighting. Something that just adds weight during this period of time will be quickly discarded/taken off, even if it's effective at other times.)

      Short term, the linked Raytheon XOS2 looks like it'd be more useful, short-medium term. Think: the skid loaders in Aliens. You'd be able to (as a group of 3-5 men, say) quickly and easily move 500lb to 1/2-ton crates on and off vehicles and the like. 30 cal or 50 cal cans would take a single person, and they'd be able to move them quickly.

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061)

        so they will be able to do everything they do today - faster, more agilely, and for a longer period of time

        Wow, so they will basically murder more innocent people in far away countries just to keep the war industry going than ever before? Awesome.

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          or more positively, they'll be able to carry from food aid / supplies in disaster areas.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          Just ignore for a second the fact that if an enemy is unable to kill your soldiers, they will give up. Ignore the fact that killing all enemy combatants quicker and more effectively (fewer deaths) that the conflict will end sooner. (Any context in which these realities do not hold acknowledges an existential ideological conflict.)

          As a child poster to you said: they'll be generally more effective at humanitarian aide as well.

          Believe it or not, humanitarian efforts - providing food, support, etc. - have long

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        A HUD with targeting/fire control wouldn't prove entirely useful until Friend/Foe systems are worked out to the point of being infallible.

        That's not entirely true. "No kill zones", to friendly troop movements, topology overlays, so no and so on, all greatly enhance survivability. You forget we do a lot by radar guidance and remote target acquisition. Targeting by UAV is becoming more prevalent. All of which can be of value to someone on the ground. Especially if they are close to the target area.

      • >Why are those things necessary
        These are 2fold....first off this is always the way, military gets it first then tests it, then 5 years later, it is available to the public. Once available to the public many seniors or even MS patients will be better off.

        Secondly, they need this to put it through its learning curve, this is always like a beta version, many years into it, we will see spin offs, better armor, better air conditioning, etc...

        Sort of like Iron man, the first one was not the best, but the serie

    • by stms (1132653)
      They don't get that until at least MK IV haven't you read Halo: Fall of Reach.
  • by khasim (1285)

    Yeah, I've seen the sci-fi movies. But this just seems stupid to me. It doesn't appear to be flexible. And flexible is what you need in combat.

    • Do Want! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)
      I still want one. At 57 with a back that limits where I can go - a likely stripped down version that could assist hike 10 - 20 miles before recharging would be something I'd pay 4 figures for.

      Screw the flying car, this thing could take off!
      • There are lots of models out there being developed for consumers with physical issues.

        I'd rather see the government putting some money into those than trying to build something they saw on some crap Sci-Fi movie.

        • There are lots of models out there being developed for consumers with physical issues.

          I'd rather see the government putting some money into those than trying to build something they saw on some crap Sci-Fi movie.

          There are lots of models out there being developed for consumers with physical issues.

          I'd rather see the government putting some money into those than trying to build something they saw on some crap Sci-Fi movie.

          I dunno. The ones I've seen out there (the Japanese ones) are still pretty lame. If Lockheed is really getting the specs they claim for this suite, then color me impressed. Perhaps not impressed enough to pay the 6 figures that Lockheed will charge the government for it* but impressed nonetheless.

          It really is an interesting field and there is certainly room enough for Lockheed and everybody else. I, for one, only plan on welcoming those exoskelatal overlords that can get my butt up a big, long hill

      • Yeah, but since we are still deep into SciFi territory, I want little nanobots that can gradually take over the functions of my living brain (over time so I won't even notice) so that when i kick the bucket I can just be put into a brand new steel and titanium body!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sprouticus (1503545)

      Ask anyone in the military, there is A LOT of time spent carrying stuff from point A to point B. loading and unloading equipment takes a great deal of effort. Think the aliens scene where they use the lifters to load the dropship.

      • Think the aliens scene where they use the lifters to load the dropship.

        This is about funding something they saw in a sci-fi movie.

        Yes, in the military you do spend a lot of time moving stuff from point A to point B.
        Which is why the military has so many machines that do that. Machines that do not have fragile humans as an integral part of them.
        Yes, it takes a bit more time to put the equipment on a pallet. But when something goes wrong, you don't have to send the forklift to the doctor to have its bones set.

        • by denzacar (181829) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @01:14PM (#34073780) Journal

          There's never one around when you need to pull a wounded man out of the battlefield and then carry him to a field hospital.

          Also, they can be a bitch to get up a a stairway.

          • by khasim (1285)

            There's never one around when you need to pull a wounded man out of the battlefield and then carry him to a field hospital.

            Soldiers were doing that in WWI without the need for robot-suits.

            Not to mention that the future of killing is drones.
            Giving troops their own robot-suits makes each soldier that much more expensive when the drone takes them out.

            If your mission plan requires the troops to carry 200lbs of equipment themselves then whomever wrote that plan needs to be shot.
            That's what we have vehicles for.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by denzacar (181829)

              Back then, soldiers with PTSD used to be shot or left to die in no-man's-land for cowardice.
              You will recognize that the world has changed a bit in last 100 years? On AND off the battlefield.

              Giving troops their own robot-suits makes each soldier that much more expensive when the drone takes them out.

              Good!

              Maybe then less soldiers will be sent out there to die for no reason.

              If your mission plan requires the troops to carry 200lbs of equipment themselves then whomever wrote that plan needs to be shot.

              They are already regularly hauling around 100 pounds of gear.
              1/3rd of it being just clothes, basic armor (helmet), weapon and ammo they are wearing.

              With exoskeleton, they can move under full gear as they would with only the basic gear while not wea

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          Repairing bones is often cheaper, especially in the case of the military.

          A veterinarian can set and cast a broken dog leg for a few hundred bucks.. getting it done for a human by a doctor and the same procedure cost over ten thousand dollars.

          The difference is that there arent a million lawyers fucking it up for everyone.
    • I don't know how much this thing is projected to cost (didn't RTFA of course) but it definitely needs to carry much more than 200 pounds. I'm in the military, in the Infantry no less, and I'm having a hard time seeing why this is better than a pallet and a forklift. This thing, http://www.defense.gov/DODCMSShare/NewsStoryPhoto/2005-01/2005011205a.jpg [defense.gov] , can lift a pretty considerable load, maybe some AF guy can clue in, but I'm guessing you could probably buy 10 of those things vs. one set of this exoskelet
  • New control software huh? So those frequent UAC warnings every time you moved the leg a bit further than allowed changed your mind after all.
  • But I need Google to know what a pound is: 200 pounds = 90.718474 kilograms
    • by tehcyder (746570)
      Why are miles per hour to kilometres per hour (presumably) easier to convert than pounds to kilograms? They're both fixed conversion factors and doing the calculation in your head isn't much different. A kilometre is 5/8 of a mile and there are 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
      • by Saiyine (689367)
        The conversion factor is much easier for us non-mile users, as miles are just 60% more than kilometers. No idea of what a pound of weight is. Honestly, I thought there were like 3 pounds and a bit in a kilo.
        • by Saiyine (689367)
          The conversion factor from mph to parsecs per second is also fixed, so I suppose you cand do it with a quick mental calculation. PS: Brrr, how is that Slashdot still doesn't allow us to edit comments?
  • These are being mass produced in Japan for health care and other markets:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy7ipDAyXtI [youtube.com]
    http://www.cyberdyne.jp/english/robotsuithal/index.html [cyberdyne.jp]
  • Make Terminator Power Armor, NAOW!
  • Another maturing technology in desperate need of new, denser energy storage device. The pressure is building - I wonder how many years before we finally see the really new new battery. Three? Five? Ten? Something that makes the concept of changing batteries in consumer devices obsolete, as they age faster than the battery is depleted...
  • I, for one, welcome this robotic oversuit.
  • Anyone notice how in the pics in TFA the guy is wearing his helmet cover backwards? Who did they hire to model this thing?
    • by Arendious (993841)

      Who did they hire to model this thing?

      Air Force people. Of the 50% of folks in the AF who even bother to put a cover on their helmets, about 60% of those habitually put the thing on backwards.

  • Who would carry 200 lbs (about 80 kilos) and jog at 10mph, (16km/hr). The knees and lungs would surely not endure any more that 30 seconds of that before fatigue or knee damage occurs.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Who would carry 200 lbs (about 80 kilos) and jog at 10mph, (16km/hr).

      Royal Marines, Paras, the SAS...

  • You've created a hydraulic version of an obese person. Our tax dollars at work people! ~:-)B

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