Is There A Future For A Real Iron Men?

Is There A Future For A Real Iron Men?-Cover via Amazon

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) unveiled its second generation Exoskeleton (XOS 2) during a demonstration with Paramount Home its research facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, The latest robotic suit is lighter, faster and stronger than its predecessor, yet using about 50 percent less power. The enhanced design aids in the suit being much more resistant to the environment.

“XOS 1 was essentially a proof of concept,” said Dr. Fraser M. Smith, vice president of operations for Raytheon Sarcos. “With XOS 2, we targeted power consumption and looked for ways to use the hydraulic energy more efficiently. That’s resulted in us being able to add capabilities while significantly reducing power consumption.”

Raytheon is presently developing the robotic suit to help with immense challenges in logistics faced by the military both in and out of theater. Repetitive heavy lifting can result to injuries, orthopedic injuries in particular. The XOS 2 reduces both strain and exertion while lifting for its operator. It also elevates the work velocity. A single operator in an exoskeleton suit can carry out the work of two to three soldiers. Hence deploying exoskeletons would allow military personnel to be reassigned to more strategic tasks.

The suit is built from a combination of structures, sensors, actuators and controllers, and is powered by high pressure hydraulics which enables its wearer to easily lift 200 pounds about several hundred times without even getting tired with repeated punches through three inches of wood. The suit that was developed for the U.S. Army is so agile and graceful enough that it allows its wearer to kick a soccer ball, punch a speed bag or climb stairs and ramps with ease.

“Getting exoskeletons deployed is inevitable in my view,” said Smith. “They are desperately needed, and I believe the military looks at them as viable solutions to a number of current issues they are trying to address. With a sustained commitment, they could be in place within five years.”

Raytheon’s Exoskeleton has been called the real “Iron Man” suit due to its ability to enhance the wearer’s strength and endurance in such a manner that is reminiscent of Tony Stark’s high-tech suit in the movies. The XOS 2 was unveiled to coincide with September 28th release of Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment.

With 2009 sales of $25 billion the Raytheon Company, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets all over the world. With a history of innovation spanning 88 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad variety of mission support services. It is headquartered in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employing 75,000 people worldwide.

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