Army Evaluates Futuristic Soft Robotic Exosuit
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 28, 2014) -- Army researchers are evaluating prototype devices developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The DARPA Warrior Web program's goal is to create a soft, lightweight undersuit to help reduce injuries and fatigue while improving mission performance. DARPA is responsible for the development of new technologies for the U.S. military. Researchers from Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering spent the past two years developing a biologically inspired smart suit that aims to boost efficiency through a new approach. A series of webbing straps contain a microprocessor and a network of strain sensors. "The suit mimics the action of leg muscles and tendons so a Soldier's muscles expend less energy," said Dr. Ignacio Galiana, a robotics engineer working on the project. Galiana said the team looked to nature for inspiration in developing cables and pulleys that interact with small motors to provide carefully timed assistance without restricting movement. DARPA selected the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to evaluate several Warrior Web prototypes at the Soldier Performance and Equipment Advanced Research facility, or SPEAR, at Aberdeen Proving Ground.