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The Military Hardware Technology

Iron Man Is Another Step Closer To a Reality 289

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.
arshadk writes with this excerpt from an article at CNN: "Inside a prosthetic shell of metal and hydraulics, Raytheon test engineer Rex Jameson is putting an XOS-2 exoskeleton through its paces. As the crowd watches, Jameson uses his robot hydraulic arm to shadowbox, break three inches of pine boards and toss around 72-pound ammunition cases like a bored contestant on the 'World's Strongest Man.' The suit moves as he moves and amplifies his strength 17-fold. ... Raytheon is seeking to develop the suits to help the US military carry supplies, and claims that one operator in an exoskeleton suit can do the work of two to three soldiers. If all goes as planned, the company hopes to see 'Iron Man' suits deployed in the field by 2015."
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Iron Man Is Another Step Closer To a Reality

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  • Re:Power (Score:1, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:42AM (#34206420) Journal
    They just need a small scale MEC like in the Varia suit. It'd scrape atmospheric dust and use antimatter chain reaction annihilation to generate heat from the complete destruction of matter (i.e. 100% matter-energy conversion). Then you use a thermocouple or heat engine.
  • Re:Skynet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VShael (62735) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:13AM (#34206696) Journal

    To me the amazing achievement in the Ironman movies that nobody seems to notice is the Jarvis AI he's got.

    It's not AI. It's an English butler with a bondage fetish, that Tony has locked in high-tech closet in the basement.

  • Safety? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by radarsat1 (786772) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:48AM (#34207084) Homepage

    Firstly, it's too bad the military-industrial climate in the US means that the first "application" of such technology is towards "the soldier of the future". I see such a "strength-enhancing" technology as more useful in contexts like warehouse management, replacing forklifts, rather than soldiering, where I'd think that "small, quick and light" would be virtues. As mentioned in other comments, "helping old people" is how they think of this kind of thing in Japan. (Though it makes me laugh to think about a grandfather type wearing such a gigantic exoskeleton to do the groceries..)

    Anyways, the real point of my post was to think about safety issues. Every time I see exoskeleton technology, it makes me think about the fact that acceleration-based positive feedback control has a tendency to "explode" if you're not very careful. I'd be afraid of putting such a suit on for fear of it ripping my arm off if something malfunctioned. What kind of safety restrictions are in place on this thing?

    By positive feedback, I mean: In a typical control situation, you'd have sensors that can tell you, 'hey you're pulling really hard on the arm right now and there is a lot of resistance, so stop.' However in this case, I'd imagine the logic is more like 'hey you're pulling really hard on the arm right now, and there is a lot of resistance, meaning the guy needs more help, so pull harder!'

  • by couchslug (175151) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:53AM (#34207158)

    "Spend it on vehicles (trucks, ships, aircraft, and forklifts) "

    Drive any of those on a goat track then get back to me.

    We are already a roadbound force tied to the massive wheeled vehicles whose height (driven by mine blast considerations), high ground pressure (big wheels are still wheels) and weight make them unable to go many places an exo could go.

    Right now, humping things like a large mortar and lots of ammo up a mountain is difficult and exhausting. The necessity to carry organic firepower (UAVs and manned combat air patrols can't be everywhere) means infantry walk to work with what they can carry.

  • Re:Intended Use? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Stupid McStupidson (1660141) on Friday November 12, 2010 @12:50PM (#34207872)
    "Raytheon is seeking to develop the suits to help the US military carry supplies......and claims that one operator in an exoskeleton suit can do the work of two to three soldiers."

    At about 200x the cost of 3 soldiers. It's carrying supplies. It isn't the Bataan death march for christ's sake. You don't go out on a patrol carrying a giant case of ammunition with your weapon on your back.

      "It sure was nice the dude in the robot suit carried our rucks for the first 5 clicks before it broke down."

      "Yeah. Sucks we gotta hump these fuckers for the next 20"

      "Nah, we'll just put them in the humvee that was following him to supply the power for the suit."

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

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