Army Testing ‘Supersoldier’ Exoskeleton
November 28, 2017
Scout.com is reporting the FORTIS “knee-stress-release device” is currently being evaluated at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. It uses AI to analyze and replicate individual walking patterns, and with independent actuators, motors and lightweight conformal structures, the lithium ion battery-powered exoskeleton allows soldiers to carry 180 lbs. up five stories.
Engineers at Lockheed Martin, which is developing FORTIS, say the exoskeleton could have its biggest impact in close-quarters urban combat where mobility, speed, and power are essential to a mission’s success. The goal of the project was to prevent one of the most common combat-related injuries for soldiers: hyperextended knees.
The report suggests there’s still a lot of work to be done. FORTIS only improves “metabolic cost of transport”—how much energy is required to perform a task—by just nine percent. However, it’s a marked improvement over its predecessor, HULC, which weighed 85 lbs. and functioned with substantially reduced soldier mobility.