The real Iron Man: Robotic suit that gives wearer 17 times more strength to be used by military 'within 5 years'
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:32 PM on 30th September 2010 It’s a robotic suit that would give even Robert Downey Jnr in Iron Man pause for thought. For just like in the hit Hollywood blockbuster this amazing exoskeleton fits over the body and gives the wearer super-human strength. The suit gives the wearer up to 17 times more strength both for lifting and pushing. Weighing 195lbs, the XOS 2 Exoskeleton is made by defence systems firm Raytheon which believes it could be used in military operations within the next five years.
Power: The new exo-skeleton gives the wearer 17 times the strength of a normal man
As these pictures show a test engineer was easily able to lift a 200-pound weight, a 50-pound model and punched his way through four one-inch thick wooden boards bound together. The XOS 2 works by pumping warmed hydraulic fluid through the metal frame which 'takes over' the weight from the human body. Following tests the suit could have trials with the military within five years. Fraser Smith, vice president of operations for Raytheon-Sarcos, said: ‘Rather than using machinery to pick up, haul and place materials, having the human element involved can make work more precise and cut down on time to bring in cranes or other devices. ‘Or the computerised suit can be worn, say, by Air Force and Navy aviation workers to load bombs onto the undercarriage of aircraft or place munitions into storage or onto trucks for shipment. ‘The full exoskeleton gives a worker the strength to pick up in each hand and handle, all day long with little fatigue, 50-pound munitions. ‘Whatever the human wants to do, the XOS makes him stronger.
The extra power lets the human user lift heavy bombs and equipment as well a degree of flexibility
A video produced by Raytheon shows an engineer smashing through layers of wooden boards
The entire system is powered by an internal combustion engine as Raytheon decided not to use Lithium-ion batteries close to the wearer’s body for safety reasons. The suit is also connected to a power source by a cable.
Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man wearing the suit that gave him extra powers
Mr Smith said: ‘Some jobs allow for the tethering, say workers are storing or loading munitions in a small area. They can be hooked up to the power source. ‘When donned, the suit seems to support itself, making its weight barely perceptible. It feels relatively lightweight, similar to a winter coat being draped across shoulders.’ Suit wearer Rex Jameson said: ‘Wearing the suit makes the 50-pound weight feel like three pounds, raising the 200-pound weight felt like 12 pounds.’ ‘What is nice for me, in lifting all these weights, is I don’t feel it in my back.’ The U.S. Government, through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, funded work on XOS-1 at the rate of $4 million to $8 million a year during eight years. Despite high interest in the project, especially by the military, government funding on XOS-2 has not yet been approved. Dr Smith, Raytheon Sarcos Vice President of Operations said: 'Getting exoskeletons deployed is inevitable. 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.' '