The Army has given Lockheed Martin $1.1 million (which, let's admit, is peanuts) to test its "next generation HULC advanced robotic exoskeleton"; basically a really, really expensive load-bearing, wearable harness. The idea is that HULC transfers a trooper's heavy load from the legs and back to the exoskeleton which then provides a power assist up inclines. As the LockMart press release says:
"HULC is designed to transfer the weight from heavy loads to the ground through the robotic legs of the lower-body exoskeleton, taking the weight off of the operator. An advanced onboard micro-computer ensures the exoskeleton moves in concert with the operator. HULC is an un-tethered, battery powered, hydraulic-actuated anthropomorphic exoskeleton capable of performing deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting with minimal human exertion."I want to see somebody develop that wicked Power Loader exoskeleton Sigourney Weaver climbs in to do battle with the alien queen in Aliens; perhaps the HULC is a step in the right direction. "Why don't you put her in charge!"
-- Greg Grant