24 Jan

Lockheed’s HULC Super-Soldier Exoskeleton Gets More Juice

Lockheed’s HULC Super-Soldier Exoskeleton Gets More Juice
Popular Science
Even the finest super-soldier suit can end up as expensive deadweight if the batteries run out of juice. Lockheed Martin wants to avoid that fate for its robotic exoskeleton by turning to fuel cells that can power the suit for days, The Register reports.
Lockheed’s Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) is a mechanized frame that allows soldiers to march or even run easily with loads of 200 pounds, as well as squat or kneel without trouble. But the current li-ion batteries supporting the suit typically run down after just a few hours of walking, not to mention running.
That could all change with fuel cells that could sustain 72-hour missions on a single charge, and provide power sockets to spare for military accessories that require their own batteries. Lockheed announced its choice of the Protonex Technology Corporation to develop such fuel cells on Wednesday.
We here at PopSci love our Iron Man suits, and so we’re happy to see longer-lasting versions in the works. After all, it’d be a shame for our robotic warfighters to run down when the Energizer Bunny keeps going on its dinky batteries.

The HULC is a completely un-tethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users with the ability to carry loads of up to 200 lbs for extended periods of time and over all terrains.


Wild Thing’s comment…….
More improved equipment for our troops. Amazing stuff!

…. Thank you Jim for sending this to me.

Eddy Burke says:

Cool. Reminds me of “Starship Troopers” by R.A. Heinlein (a great conservative book providing lots of political discourse about war and violence. I recommend it) and of “Armor” by John Steakly. It’s the future of warfare! It also shows that economicially successful nations will always be ahead in defense. Another reason why Obama’s growing debt pile can have a devastating effect on our military in the long (or short) run.

TomR says:

I can just imagine Special Forces troopers using these HULCs to range for days behind enemy lines.
I am not into science fiction, but this video stirs my imagination as to what the future may be in 25 to 50 years.

Craig Stokes says:

I am pleased to see that so much of the science fact, that we know today, came from the fiction side. This exo thing is too cool.

Jack says:

I could have used that in boot, we packed so many rocks in our ruck that I had fallen arches, half the company was game from that episode. Just think of the peacetime potentials for the physically impaired to enhance their daily life. Exciting stuff Chrissie.

Mark says:

The problem I see if you are behind enemy lines or where ever, what happens if the hydraulic systme springs a leak, now the grunts have to become a mechanic too. Mechanical systems have a tendency to breakdown. Everybody remembers how well the new M-16 worked in 1967, one jam after another. Like 6 byes, they break down and you are walking on your own, anyway. That’s why we have the guys in the rear with the gear, so when needed they bring it up.
5th Marines took six byes, a company at a time, into Hue, they dropped them off and they were on foot after that, no power assist. When push comes to shove the first thing you do is dump that pack ,especially if you walk into something hot, and especially those damn Flak jackets and the green mesh bathing suits.
Just my opinion, they are trying to add some extreme form of sophistication to something that doesn’t need it. Or can cause more problems than they are worth.
Change the ROE’s and you won’t need this stuff.

Wild Thing says:

Thank you so much all of you.
Great input about this in all the various thoughts
about it.