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Iron Man-like Exoskeleton Nears Production

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the suit-up dept.

Robotics 220

fangmcgee writes "By now, with films like Iron Man, its sequel, and Avatar, Hollywood has made us thoroughly familiar with the idea of the robotic exoskeleton. Less well known, however, is that researchers are actually building robotic exoskeletons like the ones envisioned by Hollywood and the comic book visionaries from whom Hollywood pilfers its most lucrative ideas. Among the developers of real-life Iron Man suits (of which there are many, the world over) is a group called Raytheon Sarcos. And as IEEE Spectrum reports in this month's issue, its impressive second-generation exoskeleton robotics suit, dubbed the XOS 2, is nearing production."

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Drinks are on me. (2)

magusxxx (751600) | more than 3 years ago | (#37057840)

Jack Daniels not included.

the 'closest' thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37057934)

'The closest thing we have at the moment to the Iron Man suit.' The *closest* thing. But it's in absolutely no way anything like the suit in Iron Man. It's just the same concept.

Re:the 'closest' thing (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058032)

Exactly, what makes Iron Man powerful is the completely fictitious power source in his chest. Until you can deliver power on that scale in that size, you are nowhere near "Iron Man"

Re:the 'closest' thing (0)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058034)

I'm pretty sure I've seen one of these already in use by the CIA. There was this guy named Stan or something who was operating it...

Not Skynet enough (4, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#37057942)

Seems like a major purpose of these is to have soldiers wear an exoskeleton to make them more formidable both offensively and defensively.

But can't you just skip the middleman (literally) and just have good ol' fashion killbots?

I mean, what's the point of having actual people involved in a process so minor as, well, killing people?

Re:Not Skynet enough (3, Interesting)

Brandano (1192819) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058006)

Well, you wouldn't want to risk having the robots getting all ethical on you all of a sudden. Humans are ethically more malleable. Also, once your adversary reaches the same technological level the end result is having robots fight other robots. I think that sort of thing makes you go blind or something.

Re:Not Skynet enough (3, Funny)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058194)

Also, once your adversary reaches the same technological level the end result is having robots fight other robots.

Well, it's all very clean and neat then:

1. Two armies of robots fight it out in a huge but very confined conflagration.

2. Eventually, one side defeats the other and eradicates all their robots.

3. Whatever victorious robots remain then, of course, go ahead and exterminate the entire enemy civilian population.

See how neat and clean that is? Warfare will be much more decisive and the following peace will certainly be much longer-lasting.

Re:Not Skynet enough (2)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058588)

Not a problem if the civilians are prepared.

Needed:
1. Area for robots to go through that is on fire. To heat the robots up. This does not stop them but readies for step 2
2. EMP directed at the robots. Hardened robots still go through.
3. A nice liquid O2 or liquid nitrogen bath. Makes the robots hard and brittle.
4. Wreaking ball. This cracks them up.

Burning the robots should melt some parts of them. That should stop many of them. Short circuited robots do less if anything. Fire and the EMP should be used to 'kill' most of the robots since liquid O2 or liquid nitrogen is harder to come by. If we have robot armies, we should have EMP cannons.

Re:Not Skynet enough (3, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058714)

"A Short History of World War LXXVIII" by Roy Prosterman: Wars among nations are simple deathmatches between unmanned robotic war machines fought on the moon, broadcast world-wide. The combatant whose warbot is the last one standing is the party (nation, coalition, etc) that wins. Outcomes are binding; the treaty empowering this is enforced by a neutral standing army capable of quickly defeating any nation that defies this and charged with personally (and capitally) punishing the leadership of any party that violates the treaty.

An amusing and improbable little short story. I always wondered what would happen if you declared war on the supra-national organization enforcing the treaty.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058780)

An amusing and improbable little short story. I always wondered what would happen if you declared war on the supra-national organization enforcing the treaty.

You would lose.

Re:Not Skynet enough (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059300)

I'm more concerned with what is keeping them from simply controlling the world outright.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059370)

Acknowledging that I read that story 25 years ago, I'll admit I didn't see the point of my original question and the logical conclusion you arrive at: The only real power in that world was the UN-analogue that enforced the treaty. The rest of it was, to not quite coin a phrase, "sovereignty theater".

What can I say? I was a teenager. I hadn't realized yet to look for the real state of things behind the visible ones.

Re:Not Skynet enough (3, Interesting)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058480)

I think you are looking for a Star Trek reference like Star Trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon" [wikipedia.org] where the captain meets a civilization that dispenses with the nasty bits of war and plays RISK [hasbro.com] on a global scale. Of course anybody in the affected quadrant is "humanely" euthanized.

Or perhaps you were looking for a more generic reference of the idea like The Forever War? [tvtropes.org]

What robots are you using? (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059596)

You can command a robot to do something, and it will respond. If you tell a human to do something, it might respond or it might do something completely different.

Re:Not Skynet enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058028)

Its my understanding that these are for use in combat zones but in combat. I'm thinking heavy lifting and wounded personel evac.

Re:Not Skynet enough (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058038)

Seems like a major purpose of these is to have soldiers wear an exoskeleton to make them more formidable both offensively and defensively.

Actually, the main idea right now is for rear echelon troops or soldiers stationed in FOBs to move around materiel/supplies/other heavy stuff while in base, to avoid injuries. Eventually, they'd like to get the weight/power supply small enough to allow troops to wear assistive devices while on patrol. A 2-3 day patrol in mountains almost 2 miles above sea level is bad enough. It's a lot worse when you have to hump 100+lbs of gear at that altitude also.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058184)

Then cops will eventually have them and we're all fucked. Awesome.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058338)

Exactly. The Caterpillar lloaders from 'Aliens' is way more likely (and practical) than 'Iron Man' or (book) 'Starship Troopers'.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058576)

Came here to say this: How come we haven't built one of those loaders yet? All the tech for that is definitely available...

Re:Not Skynet enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058778)

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058844)

Just look up forklift stunts on youtube and I think you may answer your own question

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Mr_Huber (160160) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059340)

Yep. Plus, the caterpillar loaders can be near external power, meaning the wearer doesn't have to worry about the added weight imposed by the power source. A 2-3 day patrol is going to need some pretty serious power storage and generation. These systems are great for hauling 100 lbs worth of equipment, but how good are they at 100 lbs of equipment plus that in generators and fuel?

Remember, the breakthrough that made Iron Man possible even in the movie was not a breakthrough in robotics, armor or servomotors, but the development of the perfect power source: small, light, massive output and requiring no bulky fuel. Without the arc reactor, Tony's suit was just so much dead weight.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058204)

But can't you just skip the middleman (literally) and just have good ol' fashion killbots?

Money. It's the cost of the Lotus Notes licenses that's preventing us from deploying killbots.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058852)

Money. It's the cost of the Lotus Notes licenses that's preventing us from deploying killbots.

Couldn't they just grab a copy of MySQL, Eudora and Edlin and call it a day?

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059674)

Money. It's the cost of the Lotus Notes licenses that's preventing us from deploying killbots.

Couldn't they just grab a copy of MySQL, Eudora and Edlin and call it a day?

Definitely not, that would be exceeding the specifications.

Re:Not Skynet enough (4, Insightful)

CommieLib (468883) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058212)

I don't think that's going to be the (direct) purpose of these...not for moral or ethical considerations, but a simple engineering one - there's no way the power is going to last long enough for a patrol.

These would be absolutely terrific for combat loading [wikipedia.org] , though, and don't underestimate how important that is. Imagine an aircraft comes in for resupply, a cohort of engineers in these suits...you could reload and refuel MUCH faster. The force efficacy of an asset is a function of that time.

So you optimize the suit to work for maybe forty five minutes, and then have hot swappable batteries.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058306)

...assuming one of the crew doesn't accidentally punch a hole in the side of the aircraft/boat...

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058570)

Oh, I'm sure there are similar accidents and such already. My brother personally destroyed two 7-tons during sandstorms while in Iraq, and saw countless other pieces of equipment get trashed while in Motor T and Bulk Fuel. I sincerely doubt that they are going to be using stuff like this around 30 million dollar aircraft for a long time. Certainly nothing that the USMC gets near, anyway.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Mr_Huber (160160) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059390)

In those circumstances, cables, protocols and cable tenders would even work. Imagine you're in the suit, you are restricted to this area around the airframe, your cable is on an automatic spool and you do a set series of movements worked out ahead of time to minimize crossing your own path. Cables may be a pain, but that means your lifting capacity is fully devoted to ordinance and fuel, rather than ordinance, fuel and your batteries.

Re:Not Skynet enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058272)

It's hard to program robots to kill the "right kind" of people.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Greystripe (1985692) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059574)

No it's not, just hook them up to credit agencies, credit rating under 700 = kill

Gigaflops per pound is the problem (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058580)

even given the problems in "programming" an actual human brain in the suit/bot is our best bet for getting the job done (plus humans can redirect according to "in theature" situations).

Re:Not Skynet enough (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058640)

For the same reason drones have not replaced the manned air force. There is often a lot of EM noise on a battefield, and some of it is quite intentional. You therefore need your soldiers - human or robotic - to be autonomous. Real combat isn't like Red Alert. The general is not clicking on individual soldiers and telling them where to walk, he's telling a captain to secure a specific objective, that captain is giving orders to squads, and NCOs are making the realtime tactical decisions. Programming that level of autonomy into a robot is really hard. It needs to be able to understand high-level objectives, like secure an area, protect civilians in another, and so on. For now, at least, it's a lot easier to put a human on the ground. Putting fewer humans on the ground is a good idea though, because people back home complain if they don't come back.

Re:Not Skynet enough (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058820)

I just hope the security is good enough that hackers don't figure out how to hack those suits.

Slow down! (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059142)

I'm not done with my hookers and blackjack yet!

Re:Not Skynet enough (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059224)

Killbot gets shot: replace with another $100-million killbot.

Man in exoskeleton gets shot: replace with another $11k/year man.

Don't think they don't do that kind of math at the Pentagon. It's why it's there.

awesome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37057956)

Can you imagine jerking it with that thing.

Re:awesome (3, Funny)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058050)

Can you imagine jerking it with that thing.

It would certainly give a whole new meaning to the "off" part.

Re:awesome (1)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058618)

Ha! (in lieu of mod points)

Pouty ten-year old me says no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37057960)

Until it can fly and has repulsor beams its not Iron Man.

Re:Pouty ten-year old me says no (1)

Brandano (1192819) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058026)

If it had been a few years ago it would have been an Aliens III exo-suit. But since the Iron Man movie is more current the concept had to be stretched to fit

Re:Pouty ten-year old me says no (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058290)

To be honest, I was watching that a few nights ago and commented that they must be getting pretty close to being able to deploy those. The technology has to be pretty much there, I'd expect it to be mostly down to making them cost effective.

seriously Verhoven, WTF?!!! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058334)

that's because the goddamned Starship Troopers movie didn't have any fucking powerarmor in it!!!
not that I'm bitter or anything...

Re:seriously Verhoven, WTF?!!! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058658)

Aliens is a better example. The exoskeleton in TFA is basically a glorified forklift truck.

Apple trademark suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37057988)

Be ready for Apple to sue them because XOS is way too close to OSX. Wouldn't want the Apple sheep getting confused and buying the wrong thing.

Re:Apple trademark suit (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058126)

I though it would be more of a joint suit with Apple and IBM XOS 2 With one name you infringe on two trademarks... Well done.

Re:Apple trademark suit (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058318)

It's SOX spelled backwards. I'm pretty sure that Apple wouldn't have any more of a claim to it than the various folks that have a claim to sox.

Kind of a crappy demo (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058004)

He did a 200 lb. pulldown and lifted two 35 lb. dumbbells. I can do that with no suit. It would have been cool if he lifted something really heavy.

Re:Kind of a crappy demo (2)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058182)

Yeah, but he will do that for hours without tiring or injuring himself. You won't. That's the real advantage of the suit.

Re:Kind of a crappy demo (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059312)

Yup. That pulldown looked like it felt like 35 lbs.

Re:Kind of a crappy demo (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058218)

Lets see you do that 1000 times in a row... every day.

Re:Kind of a crappy demo (1)

cmdr_klarg (629569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058240)

Yes, but how long can you keep that up? The guy in the suit would be exerting less effort than you, and thus be able to do it for much longer.

Re:Kind of a crappy demo (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058882)

Yes, but how long can you keep that up?

Longer than the suit's batteries.

Re:Kind of a crappy demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059048)

i bet they're thinking of how much damage or wear and tear the suit would sustain and how expensive it will be to repair it. i was also disappointed that he was only smashing through a stack of wooden boards instead of a brick wall.

We will need this! (2)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058016)

We will need this if we want to fight off the super intelligent apes.

On the plus side.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058036)

At least this one won't have Robert Downey Junior inside it.

Nice terminal font... (2)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058112)

I like how the opening of the video starts with a flashing TTY-like cursor, and then scans across the screen, 1,200 baud style, but uses ... ....a serif proportional font????

How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058148)

really?

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058236)

See Sig. Some amount smaller than the total for DoD.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058652)

Got a source for that sig?
The numbers seem a bit off, so I am asking. Looks like you left off some wars or something.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37059242)

Maybe he should add the wars to the "entitlements" line item, since we did it for oil for all those people entitled to cheap gas for their fake hummers.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058252)

Why do you consider it wasted? Less injury, and fewer personal to do the same work. Sounds like a saving to me.
But, hey if its taxes it's automatically a waste, isn't it? dumb ass.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

PopeScott (1343031) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058292)

I guess that depends on your definition of waste. By my definition $0 was wasted.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (2)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058612)

Exactly, I agree 100%. There are non-military applications to this (warehouse workers, nurses using it for patient care, returning mobility to the injured/ill, and so on). This is the creation of an industry that may see big returns. The fact that the initial use for it is military doesn't mean that it is limited to that functionality forever.

Also, as cool as this looks, what we will have in fifty years will make this look like a bunch of tinker toys powered by springs and rubber bands. But the first generation is needed in order to get to the next.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058330)

None, this is a tremendously useful technology that will revolutionize at least two different industries when they nail it.

The better question is why one would shill for the Tea Party without being paid for the damage to ones reputation.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058818)

Who says he is a shill for the Tea Party.
Defense is one of the areas that the Tea Party believes that the US Government should be involved in.

Anti DoD attacks are usually done by shills for the left. Usually.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058368)

Jobs AND cool shit.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058504)

Yeah, because giving someone the ability to life hundreds of pounds, thousands of times a day has zero applications in the nonmilitary world. A certainly, the concept couldn't be modified to help disabled people live fuller lives.

Re:How many US Taxpayer dollars wasted on this? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059334)

Wasted?

I want one of those things so bad I can smell it.

I wonder if they'll bundle it with a minigun...

Not Iron Man, Ripley (1)

whitroth (9367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058154)

That exoskeleton is way too vulnerable. On the other hand, think of what Ripley used in Aliens. *That* would be a great use of this: try picking up a pallet in your bare hands....

                mark

Re:Not Iron Man, Ripley (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058278)

Yeah "We got synthetic humans, but if you want to move heavy stuff, you got to operate it your self."

Re:Not Iron Man, Ripley (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058352)

Right now yes, but first you get the basic technology down, then you work on hardening it. What you're suggesting would be like trying to build predator drones without first having figured out how to build toy airplanes.

Pretty cool (1)

jonahbron (2278074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058176)

The video didn't demonstrate any drastic improvements since the last time I saw this exoskeleton a couple of years ago. Sounds like the biggest thing they changed is lower power consumption. Interesting that they're talking about when it will appear in cinema, instead of when it will appear in a real-life situation. "Follow the money" I guess.

Re:Pretty cool (1)

eviljolly (411836) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058592)

Considering I saw this video a year ago, "nearing production" is a relative term. They do mention the article the same thing that's been holding these devices back, which is the lack of a non-tethered power source.

Until we get past that hurdle, I wouldn't say it's anywhere near production.

Re:Pretty cool (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058690)

If we get past that little hurdle, ICE cars will be dead.

The suit is one thing... (2)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058220)

The power supply seems more critical part... as it clearly can't be 'on board' with current technology, having a fixed power (electrical and/or hydraulic) source or a large generator on a truck nearby connected with an umbilical isn't very attractive for many application. Maybe a smaller, mobile (on track or wheels), power source that follows the suit might be interesting for many combat or civilian operations (disaster SAR comes to mind).

Re:The suit is one thing... (1)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058606)

Why can't they affix a gas-powered electrical generator as a backpack to the thing? you know, with an engine like the ones in the backpack leaf blowers, but larger...

Re:The suit is one thing... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058682)

Likely because the amount of fuel one would need to carry to do so would make it impractical or hinder it to the point of making erasing any benefit it has over standard methods.

Re:The suit is one thing... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058724)

Likely because the amount of fuel one would need to carry to do so would make it impractical or hinder it to the point of erasing any benefit it has over standard methods.

Fixed.

Re:The suit is one thing... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058740)

That would need you need lots of fuel. It would also be loud, have a dangerous fuel and be totally useless in many possible applications.

Re:The suit is one thing... (1)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058832)

The power output of such a motor is maybe a few hundred Watts... add to this loss in electrical conversion and hydraulic conversion, you won't do much with the suit.

My gut feeling tells me you need nominally a few kilowatts for that thing. It may be possible and give enough autonomy (eg. fuel) to be practical in a few specific applications, but the mass of the power backpack my destabilize the suit too much. Keeping the center of gravity in a comfortable position will be hard and increase the weight of the suit even more.

Re:The suit is one thing... (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059294)

If it were me, I'd just use an arc reactor. Your solution seems too complex.

Comabt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058232)

Of course the video is combat orientated....but how else does one get investment in the States? Logistics gets a mention, but it's military logistics.

Testing? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058254)

Have they tested it against Aliens yet? What good is it if you can't fling Aliens out an airlock with it?

Robitic exoskeleton in Avatar? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058260)

What was the robotic exoskeleton in Avatar? Did they already make a sequel? Did I miss something?

You mean those glorified loaders with guns? Pfft. I suppose, but as exoskeleton-ish as an Apache helicopter is. Ripley had the real deal, if only she had time to strap a flamethrower onto it. And while we're at it, Matrix '3' had those.

Wrong exo suit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058300)

Thing looks less "Iron Man", more Power Loader from Aliens.

Power Supply (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058308)

Not to knock on how cool this thing is, but the article and Raytheon's previous press releases have been a little vague on what the power supply for this thing is. The actuators are high pressure hydraulics, meaning there must be a hefty compressor hanging around somewhere. How is it powered? In some of the videos you can see a pretty thick (5-10 cm dia) umbilical coming from the suit. Some of that is surely for telemetry, but I'm guessing a decent amount is power, either electrical or from a compressor. Do they plan on replacing that will a small combustion-engine-powered compressor in the backpack? Or is this going to just be for tethered operation at rollout?

To head off the peanut gallery: appealing to a fictional arc reactor is not an acceptable answer.

Re:Power Supply (2)

llZENll (545605) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058492)

In the video he explains they are now at 50% power usage of xo1, and hope to get to 20% of its usage in order to be able have onboard power, my guess is the thing uses so much power currently its not feasible, and even at 20% power usage of the 1st model its probably only powered via onboard sources for a very short time, less than an hour. Once you get onboard power it will weigh significantly more. Even if you have to use a tether it may be useful when loading a lot of very heavy individual things that require dexterity, but it seems like such a specific application that it won't economically viable, hence their target of the military, which is the gold standard for wasting money on niche crap like this.

Re:Power Supply (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059384)

loading a lot of very heavy individual things that require dexterity, but it seems like such a specific application

That's not "specific", it's about as vague as it gets. If you don't have to design for particular tool sets, and can make 100-lb things as generically manipulable as 1-lb things, you've saved enormously from concept to EOL. It could change the way all sorts of things look.

This kind of support is an exoskeleton (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058440)

according to the tag.

Re:This kind of support is an exoskeleton (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058486)

oops posted to wrong topic, missed it by THAT much, sorry about that, Chief.

only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058536)

The first rule of Exoskeleton Fight Club is you do not talk about Exoskeleton Fight Club.

Tethereeedd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058642)

This is the raytheon TETHERED system. This thing has a cord that has to be plugged in. It isn't meant for combat. It is meant it help in the support role like loading bombs onto a plane faster and things like that.

Disaster Response (1)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058656)

This would be great for digging survivors out of rubble in the wake of an earthquake or other disaster, being able to clamber up a heap of rubble and lift a 700 lb. block of concrete off of someone would be a real life saver.

A Case for Quanitative Analysis (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058744)

I guess the question of lifting heavy things has now been pretty much answered. But I'm thinking of applications that are not so, "Cumbersome?" Consider a Use Case of a person that is recovering from an operation, or accident and needs to go to the bathroom? or to the store? I'm thinking that the ability to just get up, and move down the hall would be very useful. And the power requirements would be on a lower scale.

Since when? (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058824)

From TFA

... deliver up to 200 kg per square centimeter of force through high-pressure hydraulics.

Since when are you able to measure force in mass per area squared? What does area density have to do with anything?

Re:Since when? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059298)

Since when are you able to measure force in mass per area squared

Since some idiot converted psi to kgscm.

Yes, just like the Iron Man suit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37058834)

If the Iron Man suit couldn't fly, had no weapons, no armor, and was tethered to a power source with a cable. Even if they got this to the point where it had its own power source, it would be a liability on the battlefield, as it greatly increases a soldier's silhouette, making him a much clearer target. And if they hit the suit itself, and disabled it, suddenly you have a couple hundred pounds of immobile metal strapped to you, which is not too helpful.

Right now, this will only be useful for loading and unloading of equipment and so forth. It would need a hell of a set of body armor to go with it to make it worth the downsides for actual use in combat, which would then require a heavier power source. The power source, by the way, is the other major problem. You need something that's going to last a very long time to make it useful for combat. You can't just go over to the charging station every few hours like a Roomba. You need something that's going to last days or weeks, unless you're just using it for very short and precisely targeted missions, that are over in a few hours.

It's an interesting technology, and I hope it's made practical, but I don't see it being used in combat any time soon.

Soon I will be able to tell everyone on /. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#37058902)

To bite my shiny metal ass.

Including my mom. From my basement bedroom.

What happens if the power fails? (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 3 years ago | (#37059464)

I sure as hell wouldn't want it to crap out if I was loading a sidewinder missile onto a plane. Ignoring the very remote possibility of an explosion, the sudden appearance of hundreds of pounds in my hands is sure to cause some rather nasty injuries...
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