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Dr. Strangehug

Military designing Battle Suits

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Dr. Strangehug

Morphing Man and Machine

What the exoskeleton program at DARPA plans to do is turn ordinary soldiers into super-troops who can leap tall objects and run at high speeds. This program is still in the early stages, so details of these wearable machines are still very vague. However, DARPA has set some expectations for these exoskeletal machines. Here's what researchers expect exoskeletons to do for soldiers:

* Increase strength - Soldiers will be able to carry more weapons and supplies. By increasing strength, soldiers will also be able to remove large obstacles from their path while marching. It will also enable them to wear heavier body armor and other ballistic protection. In the 1960s, General Electric and the U.S. military co-developed an exoskeleton, named Hardiman, that made lifting 250 pounds feel like lifting 10 pounds.

* Increase speed - An average human walks 4 to 6 mph, but soldiers are often expected to carry up to 150 pounds of supplies in their backpacks. Even the best-conditioned troops cannot go very fast carrying that much weight on their backs. It's not certain how fast DARPA's exoskeleton will be able to move. An independently developed body amplifier, the SpringWalker, has been tested at speeds faster than 10 mph (16 km/h).

* Leap great heights and distances - It's unclear just how far or high soldiers will be able to jump wearing mechanical suits, but officials would like the machine to give soldiers the ability to leap over obstacles that would ordinarily slow troops down.

Overall, soldiers will benefit from increased endurance when marching long distances over unpredictable terrain. With increased strength, they will also be able to repair heavy equipment that would otherwise be impossible to repair. Experts expect fewer casualties because of increased body armor.

user posted image

These exoskeletal machines would also be equipped with sensors and Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. Soldiers could use this technology to obtain information about the terrain they are crossing and how to navigate their way to specific locations. DARPA is also developing computerized fabrics that could be used with the exoskeletons to monitor heart and breathing rates.

If the U.S. military has its way, it will have throngs of super soldiers that can jump higher, run faster and lift enormous weight by strapping these exoskeletons to them. However, developing these devices is expected to take years, if not decades. In the next section, you will learn about some of the obstacles that face researchers charged with developing these exoskeletons.

Challenges of Development

DARPA will not be the first to attempt to build an exoskeletal mechanical body suit. As mentioned previously, GE developed the Hardiman hydraulic and electrical body suit in the 1960s. The problem with that suit is that it was so big and heavy (1,500 pounds) that it wasn't practical. Today, there are more advanced materials, such as carbon fiber and other mechanisms available that can be used to build a more streamlined exoskeleton. However, the project is not without its challenges.

Five elements will have to come together to make an exoskeleton machine work, including the structure, power, control, actuation and biomechanics. Each of these elements comes with its own set of challenges. Here's a look at some of the challenges that DARPA has outlined:

* Structural materials - The exoskeleton will have to be made out of composite materials that are strong, lightweight and flexible. The material must also be capable of protecting itself and its wearer from enemy fire.

* Power source - The exoskeleton must have enough power to run for at least 24 hours before refueling. Power must also be generated by a pack that can be worn by a person. Creating a machine that makes zero noise could be the most difficult task facing exoskeleton developers. The machine will be powered by some type of engine, so how will they prevent that engine from making noise?

* Control - Controls for the machine must be seamless. Users must be able to function normally while wearing the device.

* Actuation - Designers will have to give the machine the ability to move smoothly, so that it's not too awkward for the wearer. Like the engine, actuators must be quiet and efficient.

* Biomechanics - Will the machines be able to move like a human? Exoskeletons will have to be able to shift from side to side and front to back, just as a person would move in battle. If it lacks that ability, it could be fatal for soldiers wearing the suits. Developers will have to design the frame with joints that can bend like ours.

Military exoskeletons will be some of the most sophisticated machinery ever developed and could also lead to developments in making robots more like humans. Exoskeletons must be able to sense human motion and react to it. They will also need the ability to convert power from an energy source into useable, actuation power to aid its human wearer. The challenges that lay ahead of developers are great, and we will likely see many new devices and innovations developed to make these exoskeletons work.

Source

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The Caspian Hare

This is interesting, but I think it'll be quite a while before we see something like a real powered armor suit.

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PadawanOsswe

sweet! super soldiers, without surgery grin2.gif

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whoa182

Some more info to add to this...

Emerging Technologies Form Futuristic Uniform

ORLANDO, Fla. - Dressed in black from head to toe and wearing a helmet that allows barely a glimpse of his face, Staff Sgt. Raul Lopez looked like something out of a science fiction thriller.

Lopez, an infantry Soldier stationed at the Natick Soldier Center in Massachusetts, spent four days in what could be the Army uniform of the future at the 24th Army Science Conference, explaining the technology behind it.

The black fabric of the form-fitting suit would be made through the wonder of nanotechnology, which involves manipulating atoms and molecules to create things at the nanometer scale. That's about 50,000 times smaller than the diameter of a strand of hair. Soldiers wearing the suit would have the ability to blend into any environment, like a chameleon.

The helmet is the main hub of the uniform, where "all of the action happens," Lopez said. A tiny video camera in front provides 360-degree situational awareness. A series of sensors inside give the Soldier three-dimensional audiological hearing and the ability to amplify specific sounds, while lowering the volume of others.

Complete voice translation is also provided, for what the Soldier hears and what he or she says. Night vision sensors, minimized to the size of pencil erasers, are also in the helmet. Maps and other situational awareness information are projected on the inside of the visor, while everything the Soldier sees and hears is sent in real time up to higher headquarters.

"It's all voice activated," Lopez said. "I can tell it to show me where my buddies are, and it projects it on the visor."

Virtual reality technology would also play a part in helping the Soldier navigate an environment by projecting maps on the ground surrounding him or her.

Sensors detect threat, provide treatment

Thermal sensors weaved into the fabric of the uniform control its temperature, based on the Soldier's environment. An on-board respirator, tethered to the Soldier's back, provides a continuous supply of fresh air – eliminating the need for a protective mask. Should the Soldier have the visor up, or the helmet off, and breath in some kind of harmful agent, the uniform sensor will immediately detect it, release tiny embedded capsules to counter it and inject treatment into the Soldier's body.

From the waist down, a skeletal system allows the Soldier to carry two or three times his or her body weight, feeling only the weight of their own body through the technology of an XO muscle, which augments a Soldier's strength.

Wearing the futuristic suit doesn't make Lopez feel like a science fiction superhero, or invincible.

"It's just conceptual right now," he said, smiling.

Liquid armor protection

The uniform might be made out of fabric treated with another technology featured in the conference's exhibit hall, shear thickening fluid. Unofficially referred to by some as liquid body armor, STF is made of equal parts polyethylene glycol – an inert, non-toxic thickening agent used in a variety of common products, like some ice creams – and miniscule glass particles, said Eric Wetzel, who heads the STF project team in the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

In a small glass vial, the light blue liquid is easily stirred with a small plastic stick – as long as the stick is moving in slow, easy motion. When sudden, rapid or forceful motion is applied, the liquid instantly hardens, preventing any movement.

"When the movement is slow, the glass particles can flow around each other," Wetzel explained. "But when the movement is fast, the particles bump into each other, preventing any flow of movement."

STF has been applied to regular Kevlar material, Wetzel said. The fabric's texture doesn't change; it looks and feels the same as if it hadn't been treated. Using a test swatch of four layers of untreated Kevlar – the normal thickness of body armor – Wetzel is able to stab an ice pick through the fabric. But when stabbing a treated section of fabric with all the force he can muster, the ice pick dents the fabric but can't penetrate through.

Research is being done into whether STF can be of use to the Army, Wetzel said. If it is, Soldiers may start getting gear treated with it in about two years, he added.

Source; http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,1331...tml?ESRC=dod.nl

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Thanato

There called Stormtro- umm i mean, Soldiers.

Theyve been working on this since the 70s, i say in 20-30 years it will be a reality.

~Thanato

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PadawanOsswe

cool designs. it looks a lot like the Marine armour from HALO

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eckogangsta
cool designs. it looks a lot like the Marine armour from HALO

633918[/snapback]

Now all we need are plasma grenades and needlers and our troops will own. Just imagine a needler.

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PadawanOsswe
cool designs. it looks a lot like the Marine armour from HALO

633918[/snapback]

Now all we need are plasma grenades and needlers and our troops will own. Just imagine a needler.

633950[/snapback]

laugh.gif and we can give special forces the Spartan Armour cool.gif

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AztecInca

Indeed, that body armour does look awesome and if its acpable of what they are saying then it will ceratinly save lives and change how infantry fight against enemy infantry. Although I doubt we will be seeing all combat soldiers wearing fully functioning powered suits for many years to come.

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Walken

That guy looks just like Master Cheif. He's so dreamy....

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__Kratos__

I wonder if they will give tankers those suits to? tongue.gif

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whoa182

Only around 10-15 years original.gif

With breakthroughs happening almost everyday in Nanotechnology. I expect to see most of the systems introduced in the next 10 years for sure

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PadawanOsswe
Hey, check out the military suits approved by congress for 2020 and 2010.

http://www.gizmag.com/go/3062/

634108[/snapback]

grin2.gif those are awsome! I could be wearing that when I join the service grin2.gif

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ROGER
no.gif They didnt say anything about the flying robot gun & camera thier working on!

post-9259-1116789749_thumb.jpg

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thefounder

Yah, if they were bullet proof the only way we could kill a soldier would be to hit him with a laser, but then again, we could just have the armor coated with a classified solution called firepaste (you may have heard about it on the news before it was classified).

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Nirwana
Yah, if they were bullet proof the only way we could kill a soldier would be to hit him with a laser, but then again, we could just have the armor coated with a classified solution called firepaste (you may have heard about it on the news before it was classified).

635026[/snapback]

Well even if those suits are bullet proof they'll probably wear out after some damage not to mention that by that time probably there will be bullets designed to pierce those suits rofl.gif

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whoa182

Some new materials for armor such as Carbon Nanotubes can be from 60 - 100 x stronger than pure steel, 1/6th the weight and as theen as a piece of paper.

So I don't think so wink2.gif

Edited by whoa182

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SnakeProphet

Impressive.All you have to do is to pull the plug.Or shake him till the batteries fall out.

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PadawanOsswe
Some new materials for armor such as  Carbon Nanotubes can be from 60 - 100 x stronger than pure steel, 1/6th the weight and as theen as a piece of paper.

So I don't think so wink2.gif

635203[/snapback]

I have a piece of that material your talking about, its strong stuff, but the fibers would have to be made in a weaveing pattern like this # in order to stop a bullet, but I dunno how long the carbonfiber would be able to standup against bullets and armour piercing rounds. its a circle, when somebody makes armour, somebody else will come up with a way to defeat the armour. and eventually used armour has to be replaced, recently there was a firefight in Iraq and some insurgents had body armour and THOUSANDS of Armour Piercing rounds given to them by Al-Quada, and our troops dont get issued many armour pierceing rounds, so it was hard to fight the insurgents off in order to destroy the Depo.

that is why troops cant fully rely on armour to keep them safe, what they lack in armour they MUST make up for in

-speed

-manuver

-and cover

these 3 factors are what really makes troops deadly yes.gif

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PadawanOsswe

and since this project will cost a hell of a lot of Tax dollars, they should only issue these suits to small units, I think they should create a new unit to use these suits, a unit on regimental or battalion scale.

when I read about this project, some of the guys call it "an F-16 on legs"

you know why? cause a jet costs a hell of a lot, and this will cost a hell of a lot so you dont want to issue this kinda stuff to every trooper, just small groups,or just one group.

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thefounder
and since this project will cost a hell of a lot of Tax dollars, they should only issue these suits to small units, I think they should create a new unit to use these suits, a unit on regimental or battalion scale.

when I read about this project, some of the guys call it "an F-16 on legs"

you know why? cause a jet costs a hell of a lot, and this will cost a hell of a lot so you dont want to issue this kinda stuff to every trooper, just small groups,or just one group.

636170[/snapback]

Well, once the price of the nanotubes decrease, im sure they'll be able to be mass-produced. However, untell that happens (in maybe 20 years) we'll just have to reserve this high-tech equipment to the best of the special forces.

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whoa182

20 years?

Commercial nano tube products are coming out in the next 12 - 18 months !

There has been quite a number of significant advances and production of nanotubes lately.

Edited by whoa182

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thefounder

That is really relieving, the sooner this technology becomes "mainstream" the better.

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Dr. Strangehug

Speaking of nanotubes.......NASA and the U.S. goverment are waiting on nanotube technology to progress to a stage where they can produce a carbon cable strong enough for the Space Elevator to ride on......check this out....its really awesome....

April 25, 2005 09:01 AM US Eastern Timezone

LiftPort Group, the Space Elevator Companies, to Open Its First Carbon Nanotube Manufacturing Facility

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 25, 2005--LiftPort Group, the space elevator companies, today announced plans for a carbon nanotube manufacturing plant, the company's first formal facility for production of the material on a commercial scale. Called LiftPort Nanotech, the new facility will also serve as the regional headquarters for the company, and represents the fruition of the company's three years of research and development efforts into carbon nanotubes, including partnering work with a variety of leading research institutions in the business and academic communities.

Set to open in June of this year, LiftPort Nanotech will be located in Millville, New Jersey, a community with a history in glass and plastics production. Both the City of Millville and the Cumberland County Empowerment Zone are partnering to provide $100,000 in initial seed money for the new facility.

LiftPort Nanotech will make and sell carbon nanotubes to glass, plastic and metal companies, which will in turn synthesize them into other stronger, lighter materials (also known as composites) for use in their applications. Already being used by industries such as automotive and aerospace manufacturing, carbon nanotube composites are lighter than fiberglass and have the potential to be up to 100 times stronger than steel.

"We are pleased that LiftPort has selected Millville as the location for its new manufacturing facility and regional headquarters," said Sandra Forosisky, Executive Director of the Cumberland Empowerment Zone. "Millville has a strong history in manufacturing, and we believe it is ideally suited for the emerging carbon nanotube industry." Mayor James Quinn from the City of Millville added, "LiftPort's presence will give Millville a competitive advantage in the emerging use of nanotube composites within our existing manufacturing base and its ability to attract additional manufacturing companies resulting in the creation of many new well paying jobs for our community."

"We selected Millville due both to its central location to key business centers on the East Coast, as well as its experienced workforce," said Michael Laine, president of LiftPort Group. "In addition, we selected the area because of its growing reputation for supporting the development of cutting edge technologies in a variety of arenas, such as low-cost, green energy."

Today's announcement represents the second major facility and first East Coast presence to be established by LiftPort Group, the Seattle-based company dedicated to the development of the first commercial elevator to space. The company was founded by Laine, one of the pioneers of the modern Space Elevator concept and the creator of the modern business model for building a commercial space elevator.

"We see the development of carbon nanotubes as critical to the building of the space elevator," said Laine. "Opening a commercial production facility enables us to generate revenues in the shorter term by meeting the growing market need for this material. At the same time, it enables us to conduct research and development in this arena for our longer term goal of a commercial space elevator."

A revolutionary way to send cargo into space, the space elevator (as proposed by LiftPort) will consist of a carbon nanotube composite ribbon stretching some 62,000 miles from earth to space. The elevator will be anchored to an offshore sea platform near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and to a small counterweight in space. Mechanical lifters will move up and down the ribbon, carrying such items as satellites and solar power systems into space. More information can be obtained at the company's web site at www.liftport.com.

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