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May 15, 2008

Powered Fucking Exoskeleton Robotic Fucking Armor

Okay, there's no actual armor on that exoskeleton, but when you're multiplying strength by a factor of 20, welding on heavy titanium plates becomes a pretty trivial exercise.

So this is where my Flyin' Car development dollars have been diverted to? All right, fine. But I want a civilian model, fuckers.

Rex Jameson bikes and swims regularly, and plays tennis and skis when time allows. But the 5-foot-11, 180-pound software engineer is lucky if he presses 200 pounds — that is, until he steps into an "exoskeleton" of aluminum and electronics that multiplies his strength and endurance as many as 20 times.

With the outfit's claw-like metal hand extensions, he gripped a weight set's bar at a recent demonstration and knocked off hundreds of repetitions. Once, he did 500.

"Everyone gets bored much more quickly than I get tired," Jameson said.

Jameson — who works for robotics firm Sarcos Inc. in Salt Lake City, which is under contract with the U.S. Army — is helping assess the 150-pound suit's viability for the soldiers of tomorrow. The suit works by sensing every movement the wearer makes and almost instantly amplifying it.

The Army believes soldiers may someday wear the suits in combat, but it's focusing for now on applications such as loading cargo or repairing heavy equipment. Sarcos is developing the technology under a two-year contract worth up to $10 million, and the Army plans initial field tests next year.

Before the technology can become practical, the developers must overcome cost barriers and extend the suit's battery life. Jameson was tethered to power cords during his demonstration because the current battery lasts just 30 minutes.

...

"Everybody likes the idea of being a superhero, and this is all about expanding the capabilities of a human," said Stephen Jacobsen, chief designer of the Sarcos suit.

Bunk.

As far as power... well, I wonder if they can't shift to laser power. It's heavy and difficult to carry around batteries and engines. But what if you could produce that energy elsewhere, and then beam it by laser to a receiver in the suit, which then converts it to electrical energy? Essentially you could make your "engine" any size you wanted, up to the size of a huge nuclear reactor, and you'd always be "plugged in" to that engine via a laser that tracked your position and always shifted to hit you. So long as there are satellites overhead, you've always got gigawatts of power at your disposal.

I really think Iron Man (the movie) should have used that explanation of his power source rather than the battery-sized miracle power source "arc reactor" they postulated.


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posted by Ace at 03:55 PM

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