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Exoskeletons are fast becoming more fact than fiction for US soldiers

Think exoskeletons in the military and you probably think of sci-fi movies and video games, granting characters almost super-human abilities in the process. But military colossus Lockheed-Martin is actually making the technology a reality, in a sense.

The company has revealed the FORTIS Knee Stress Release Device (K-SRD), which hopes to make a soldier’s life a little bit easier. So what does it actually do?

“It boosts leg capacity for physically demanding tasks that require repetitive or continuous kneeling or squatting, or lifting, dragging, carrying or climbing with heavy loads,” read a release on the contractor’s website.

It’s more than just a mechanical system though, as sensors report the person’s speed, angle of movement and direction. This information is sent to a computer, which then controls “electro-mechanical” actuators in the knees, delivering the right torque at the appropriate time.

The FORTIS exoskeleton boosts carrying capacity and endurance, being available to civilian workers as well

“FORTIS K-SRD ultimately reduces the energy needed to cross terrain, squat or kneel. These benefits are most noticeable when ascending or descending stairs or navigating inclined surfaces,” Lockheed-Martin adds.

The company says it’s also making the exoskeletons available to industrial workers and first responders.

“For any mission that combines heavy man-portable gear and climbing, FORTIS K-SRD can enhance strength and endurance,” said Lockheed-Martin’s Keith Maxwell.

Featured image: Lockheed-Martin via Flickr (file image)

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More