Lockheed Martin announced yesterday it had provided the Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center with some test articles of its HULC Exoskeleton prototype to give Army engineers a gander at the Rube Goldberg contraption and see if it works on a Soldier's frame.
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.According to LockMart, the Human Universal Load Carrier will help Soldiers lift up to 200 pounds and carry it for 20 KM on one battery charge.
Look, it kind of makes you want to chuckle when you see it, but even if parts of this concept can be integrated into Army kit to mitigate ammo loads or other logistics, it could help a lot.
(A big thanks to "El Darto" for the tip...)