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Real-life 'Iron Man' in the works from Raytheon

Posted: 06 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:real-life iron man? sensor? MCU?

While the movie "Iron Man" topped the U.S. box office in its opening weekend, the real iron man is already under construction at Raytheon Co. The company's Exoskeleton project is the brainchild of project leader Stephen Jacobsen and is being funded by the U.S. Army.

The project, according to Raytheon, permits soldiers to don an Exoskeleton suit that amplifies their strengthenabling them to lift 200-pound payloads without tiring.

In addition to amplifying strength and endurance, the company claims the Exoskeleton can increase a soldier's agilityenabling feats similar to those demonstratedcourtesy CGI (computer-generated imagery)by the "Iron Man" in the film. Raytheon's Sarcos team, which has been developing the Exoskeleton since 2000, has demonstrated its wearer performing feats of strength as well as agility, including kicking a soccer ball, working out on a punching bag, climbing up stairs and navigating rough terrain.

As the ultimate mechatronics realization, sensors follow the soldiers own movements, which MCUs then transfer to the actuators in the Exoskeleton. Jacobsen's stated goal is to create an Exoskeleton suit that enables humans to "work inside robots" instead of just alongside them.

Past efforts at creating exoskeleton suits include Honda's "Hal-5," which was designed in 2006 by Tsukuba University engineering professor Yoshiyuki Sankai to help medical workers to lift and carry an elderly person.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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