Humanoids are stupid. Laugh at them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

US army develops robotic suits

At a research facility on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, ringed by beautiful snow-capped mountains,the military is testing new and strange uniforms.

The aluminium limbs gleam in the brilliant sunshine, as the strange metal skeleton hangs from a safety harness at the outdoor testing site. It seems to be treading water; actually its programme is telling it to keep the hydraulic fluid in its joints moving.

Rex Jameson, a software engineer here at laboratories run by Sarcos, the robotics firm which designed the XOS exoskeleton, steps up and into the suit.

The lightweight aluminium exoskeleton, called XOS, senses Rex's every move and instantly moves with him; it is almost like a shadow or a second skin. It is designed for agility that can match a human's, but with strength and endurance that far outweigh our abilities.

For the army the XOS could mean quicker supply lines, or fewer injuries when soldiers need to lift heavy weights or move objects around repeatedly. Initial models would be used as workhorses, on the logistics side.

Later models, the army hopes, could go into combat, carrying heavier weapons, or even wounded colleagues.



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