US military exosuit is the ultimate Die Hard wearable

Soft robotics hit the battlefield today and your chinos tomorrow
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While most wearables out there are trying to get you to move more, a team of Harvard Uni students are developing an exosuit that could in fact help you move less.

A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering (say that fives time quickly) has just announced a new prototype for a ‘smart robotic suit’ that should reduce the amount of energy us humans need to move.

While it may sound like an idea that’s straight from a 1970’s low budget sci-fi movie, it is actually very close to being fully realised as the team have received a tidy $2.9 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. You might know them better as DARPA.

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Sadly, it doesn’t seem like this suit, which you apparently wear just like a regular pair of trousers, will be hitting the high street anytime soon. It’s being built with the intention of being worn by the military who often have to navigate rough terrain.

However, Conor Walsh, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering and lead researcher of the project did offer hope that the “soft robotics” built into the exosuit could one day find its way into our stores.

“While the idea of a wearable robot is not new, our design approach certainly is. Soft wearable robotics is a fundamentally new technology. We’re trying to take an entirely new approach to how we design and fabricate wearable robots.” he said.

So, while it seems that the idea of having a self-walking pair of chinos might still be quite a way from actual reality, at least there’s a glimmer of hope for the future.

It is said the exosuit will take another 15 months to be fully optimised, with military testing likely to take place in the autumn of 2015.

Source: American Live Wire

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Max Parker is an experienced technology journalist. He's the editor of Trusted Reviews, and has worked for Wareable, T3 and more.

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