Lockheed K-SRD exoskeleton helps soldiers in real-world applications
An independent study demonstrates that soldiers using the knee exoskeleton were consistently less fatigued and required less exertion.
The exoskeleton is becoming more and more common in everyday applications. One area of opportunity comes from military applications.
A study by the University of Michigan Human Neuromechanics Laboratory are looking into the benefits of using exoskeleton. The team suggests that battle-equipped soldiers would be less fatigued if they wore Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS Knee-Stress Relief Device (K-SRD) exoskeleton on inclined terrain.
The independently funded study suggests that “K-SRD consistently decreased the cost of transport of walking up an incline with a load.”
Cost of transport measures energy consumed in ambulatory tasks such as walking and climbing stairs. The study demonstrated that all participants conserved energy using the K-SRD, reducing overall exertion.
For the initial tests, the study worked with four trained participants, each wearing the exoskeleton and carried a 40-pound backpack while walking at various speeds on a treadmill inclined to 15 degrees.
Each participant shows that their exertion was significantly reduced compared to situations that were performed without the K-SRD unit. The study hopes to expand beyond these measures in real-life urban scenarios, including ascending and descending stairs with weight to assess potential for first responders.
“The study results show K-SRD’s potential to increase mobility for dismounted troops,” said Keith Maxwell, exoskeleton technologies program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
“By reducing the effort in walking and climbing, there’s less fatigue. This technology can literally help our fighting men and women go the extra mile while carrying mission-essential equipment.”
Now in development, the K-SRD uses Dermoskeleton technology licensed from B-TEMIA, to counteract overstress on the lower back and legs. It supports and boosts leg capacity for physically demanding tasks that require lifting or dragging heavy loads, or walking with load on inclines or stairs. K-SRD reduces fatigue and increases endurance.