America’s premier defense research agency is one step closer to rolling out the type of performance-enhacing exoskeleton that gave Matt Damon a shot at eternal life in Elysium.
Back in 2011, DARPA put a call out for anyone interested in helping them “create a soft, lightweight undersuit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve Soldiers’ ability to efficiently perform their missions”.
The project – known as Warrior Web – would boost endurance, carrying capacity and “overall warfighter effectiveness”, ideally while using no more than 100W of power.
Task A was to pull together prototypes from various third parties, and the response was impressive to say the least, resulting in a slew of images and videos from hopeful contractors.
Such as this:
What’s so promising about the project so far is that everyone’s taking it so seriously, it’s a couple of months ahead of schedule.
DARPA are confident they can now move onto to Task B – calling for submissions on how to pull all the associated components together into a workable suit.
They’ve got realistic solutions for enhanced ankles, hips, knees and upper body; now they need all the bits to talk together while sitting comfortably and not impede regular body armour.
Also, it has to be washable. (DARPA’s words, not ours.)
Proposals are due at the start of October, so watch this space around then for a look at what life could be like when you no longer have to rely on muscle and bone to get around.