US Military Getting Robotic Exoskeletons To Turn Soldiers Into Superhumans

If you ever dreamed of battling xenomorph queens like Ripleyin Aliens, we are getting there: The U.S. Special Operations Command is getting delivered a pre-production unit of the Guardian XO robotic exoskeleton.

Credit: Sarcos

(Image credit: Sarcos)

The USSOCOM is the third of the US military forces that are getting into the exoskeleton game after the US Air Force and the US Navy announced collaborations with the company.

The Guardian XO is a full-body robotic skeleton that can work for eight hours on a single charge powered by rechargeable batteries that can be hot swapped in the field, according to the manufacturer Sarcos.

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The exoskeleton is capable of lifting a 200-pound weight and carry it while walking at three miles per hour — the speed of humans walking.

Credit: Sarcos

(Image credit: Sarcos)

It is pretty simple to operate: the user just gets into the exoskeleton in less than one minute and the suit activates to follow its moves automatically, a control system that the company calls “Get-Out-of-the-Way” control.

Sarcos says that the Guardian XO is designed to “eliminate a perception of latency” between the movement of the user and the exoskeleton servos, using a sensor that makes the entire system responds within milliseconds. The company says that this allows for intuitive control of the robotic suit, which acts as a second skin, “allowing the operator to control the robot in a way that leverages his or her instincts and reflexes.”

The suit, the company claims, transfers any load through the exoskeleton to the ground, so the person inside doesn’t have to do much effort — lifting a 100-pound weight should feel like lifting a five-pound weigh to the operator.

US soldiers and airmen will be able to use these exoskeletons in daily operations that require heavy lifting. But of course, you start just lifting things and end fighting space invaders and jumping through time like Tom Cruise.