Sister site Kit Up! beat me to the punch about writing about the latest piece of 20th Century science fiction tech that may become real-life 21st Century battlefield tech. The Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center has begun testing Lockheed Martin's HULC exoskeleton to see how much of an athletic boost it can give the average human.
From a Lockheed release:
For seven weeks, U.S. Army warfighters will be evaluated to assess the effects of load carriage with and without use of the HULC exoskeleton. Biomechanical testing will measure changes in energy expended by users, assessing how quickly individuals acclimate to the system and whether there is a reduction in metabolic cost. Testing will also determine if there is an improvement in metabolic efficiency as measured by oxygen consumption per unit total mass, when wearing the ruggedized HULC as compared to not wearing the device under identical load, speed, grade and duration conditions.25-years ago, The Terminator seemed like pretty far off fantasy and now we've got robot-planes killing our enemies. That Aliens-style exoskeleton may not be that far away.
Lockheed Martin’s HULC is an un-tethered, battery powered, hydraulic-actuated anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users the ability to carry loads up to 200 pounds for up to 20 kilometers on a single battery charge over all terrains. HULC’s design allows for deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting with minimal human exertion. An advanced onboard micro-computer ensures the exoskeleton moves in concert with the operator.