By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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September 19, 2012
Back in July, 2010, DefenseReview (DR) published a piece on the Berkeley Bionics/Lockheed Martin Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) anthropomorphic exoskeleton for future soldiers/warfighters. Well, this year at Special Operations Forces Industry Conference 2012 (SOFIC 2012), we got to see the system in action on the convention floor, and it was interesting. So, we videotaped it for our readers' education and entertainment.
Defense Review had already seen the promotional videos on HULC, but it was a whole different thing to see it working and with a FN M240B MMG/GPMG mounted on an Aliens-style swing-arm-type weapons mount. It would seem logical that this swing-arm mount will eventually employ a Steadicam-type weapon stabilization system, perhaps made by a company like Equipois.
The strangest thing was seeing the system just sitting there on a hard case without a human being inside it. It looked like a mechanical person just relaxing at the show!
Weird, but cool.
You can view DR's embedded HULC video clips below:
The following information on the Lockheed Martin HULC exoskeleton system comes directly from the company's website:
"Dismounted warfighters often carry heavy combat loads that increase the stress on the body leading to potential injuries. With a HULC exoskeleton, these heavy loads are transferred to the ground through powered titanium legs without loss of mobility.
The HULC is a completely un-tethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users with the ability to carry loads of up to 200 pounds for extended periods of time and over all terrains. Its flexible design allows for deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting.
An onboard micro-computer ensures the exoskeleton moves in concert with the individual. The HULC’s modularity allows for major components to be swapped out in the field. Additionally, its unique power-saving design allows the user to operate on battery power for extended missions. When battery power is low, the HULC system continues to support the loads and does not restrict mobility. HULC can also support a maximum load, with or without power.
Lockheed Martin is also exploring exoskeleton designs for industrial use and a wider variety of military mission specific applications."
Company Contact Info:
Lockheed Martin HULC Exoskeleton Contacts:
Media and Press Inquiries: 407-356-5351
Business Development: 407-356-4464
Protonex Technology Corporation
153 Northboro Road
Southborough, MA 01772-1034
2379 Professor Ave
Cleveland Ohio 44113
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