Robotic Exoskeletons - USC Upstate: Faculty

By: Logan Smith
SCSC 314
Introduction to Robotic Exoskeletons
• Robotic exoskeletons have been portrayed in
Hollywood and video games since the late
• The fantasy of robotic suites and exoskeletons
are shown as technology of the future. For
example, the blockbuster hits of The Matrix and
Avatar use robotic suites as military and defense
Starship Troopers
Mobile infantry wore suits of powered
armor during intergalactic war,
protecting them from anti-personnel
guns. Along with armor, the suits
sported a means of transportation via
Metroid 1986
Aliens 1986
This Caterpillar Power Loader is perhaps one of the
most iconic robotic suits portrayed in films. This preCGI suit is the blueprint for modern day robotic
exoskeletons. By design this suit was made to
assist humans in heavy lifting and loading
situations. Add some five-fingered grippers and a
machine gun and you basically have the robotic
suits of the Matrix and Avatar.
Halo 2001
The Mark V powered armor suit is one of, if not
the greatest iconic suits in video games.
However, nothing about the suit is very original.
It is simply a refined version of the Mobile
Infantry suit and dozens of sloppy sci-fi
Iron Man 2008
Reality of Robotic
Enough fantasy! Lets take a look into the
reality of Robotic Exoskeletons in the
Currently there are two robotic suits under
contract for military use (THAT WE KNOW
The first contract is through Lockheed
Martin. Their exoskeleton suit is called the
Human Universal Load Carrier, or “HULC”
for short.
The HULC is a completely un-tethered,
hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic
exoskeleton. It is designed to assist soldiers in
carrying heavy loads across any and all terrains
that may arise in combat. With its titanium legs
the HULC allows users to carry loads of up to
200 pounds.
The HULC makes use of its power-saving design
which allows the user to operate on battery
power for extended missions.
The HULC cont.
The HULC’s design allows for different
attachments to aid soldiers with bearing heavy
loads. The main purpose is to eliminate physical
stress and injuries.
There is also a great emphasis on providing
soldiers with the energy to carry out missions. In
Afghanistan a soldiers backpack can weigh over
100 pounds itself.
Raytheon Sarcos
The second robotic exoskeleton is contracted
through the Raytheon Company which
specializes in defense technology, homeland
and boarder security, and cybersecurity.
The Raytheon XOS 2, as is the HULC, is
designed to assist soldiers with heavy lifting and
prevent physical fatigue and injury. However,
the XOS 2 is currently not for field use.
The XOS 2 relies on a tethered power source,
limiting the range of the suit.
XOS 2 cont.
The XOS 2 is best used as a loader of military
supplies in tight spaces where a fork lift simply
cannot be used.
The suit will allow one soldier to perform the
tasks of two or three. The XOS 2 also breaks the
physical limitations of the job, allowing anyone
man or female of any strength to perform heavy
load bearing jobs. It increases the human
strength by 17 fold. Simply meaning by exerting
one pound of force, the suit exerts 17 pounds!
Robotic exoskeletons are not a fantasy of the future. The
reality is we have the technology right now. Just think of what
the government may or may not be keeping secret if this is
currently what is being made public.
We will find these exoskeletons common practice in the
military, the work place, and medical field.
1) Although the HULC and XOS 2 are designed to assist humans in physically
Demanding tasks. What is the main difference between the two?
The HULC is a robotic exoskeleton that encapsulates the lower
extremities while the XOS 2 is a true full body exoskeleton.
2) What is the main limitation of the XOS 2 exoskeleton?
It is connected to a tethered power source, meaning it is confined
to a local work area.
3) How much is the human strength amplified by the XOS 2 exoskeleton?
17x’s! When the human exerts 1 pound of force, the XOS 2 exerts 17
pounds .

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