DARPA Advances Bionic Suits to Protect Soldiers

Warrior Web 4The Army continues to work to develop an undersuit worn at the ankles, hips, knees and upper body that will protect soldiers from injuries and reduce the physical burden of hauling up to 100 pounds of gear on patrol.

Army officials has partnered with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as the Defense Department seeks to build upon the work of scientists researching the technologies that can augment muscles in the human body.

Thus far, the program called Warrior Web has studied “rapid joint stabilization, functional structures, energy injection, regenerative kinetics, load transfer and distribution and flexible kinetic and kinematic sensing,” according to a DARPA statement.

The program has pushed into the second phase of the program as DARPA looks to push the undersuit system beyond the laboratory and make the undersuit system a reality. In September, companies interested in the program offered proposals to DARPA for future work.

Below is the list of technology areas that DARPA officials sent out this summer to companies and research labs to further develop the suit:

  • Integrated advanced control systems across multiple joints
  • Materials, fabrics, structures, sensors, sensor interfaces and human factors associated with developing conforming, assistive wearable technologies
  • Technologies that significantly reduce the potential for acute or chronic injury of a wearer under typical warfighter mission profile situations
  • Technologies that increase physical capabilities and/or endurance of humans during activities such as running, lifting, climbing, carrying a load, marksmanship, etc.
  • Additional assistive wearable technologies for rehabilitation, physical therapy or those intended to help improve quality of life for the aging population.

Warrior Web 3

25 Comments on "DARPA Advances Bionic Suits to Protect Soldiers"

  1. I call bullshit. Everytime someone invents some lighter piece of gear, they find other gear to hang off of infantrymen.

    Rucksack 2kg lighter? Carry two more kgs of ammo or armor.
    Lighter helmet? carry more batteries for the radio.

    They'll just add more weight so this suit until it is overloaded. 150kg of gear and ammo is too light with the suit? Here's 50kg of more gear.

    Meanwhile, our guys keep getting smoked in footraces by guys with sandals and robes who carry nothing more than a rifle, some ammo and maybe a water bottle.

  2. While I'm always in favor of protecting our troops I can only wonder what all of this technology is going to cost.

  3. this thing looks very cool! it looks like a person with prosthetics just got out of basic training

  4. I'd like to see more reporting on the acquisition of private sector R & D support ( the proposals mentioned above); who is in on it, approximate time to award, how to find out who was successful (Yes, I'd like a job with them). I'm sure the current shutdown has thrown a wrench into the process, but once some people do the job they were hired to do, the rest of us can get on with what WE are hired to do.

  5. Heed the words of Smedley Butler, 2xMOH, USMC commandant, in his little book, "War Is A Racket," available free online via Google search.

  6. Bear stands tall | October 10, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply

    im sure all this high tech stuff is all well and good but they really need to get this shit and put threw the real test with the army's Infantry or marines Infantry test not some asshole who sits on a desk and says " hey thats sounds good " or wow what a great idea bob" infact i tell you what when yall finally get this out to the troops im sure it will end up in the dumpster cuz of all the hendurance it is, the shit yall come up with is all well and good and im sure your heart and minds might be in the right place but as one of the other comments where made " our guys are getting smoked by guys in sandals and robes who carry noting but a rifle and some ammo and maybe some water"its time to rethink this threw ya know, if your wanting to save lives get this stuff and a little more ideas AND MAKE ROBOTS ok

  7. You all need to sit back and calm down. It's a motherfucking exosuit. An exosuit! It's the first steps towards powered armor. I'm 100% behind this. I say throw more money at it! Before you know it, losing a
    Leg to an IED will get your a new robot leg. Badass. We need to put more money behind this! If they are offering it to Marine Corps 0311 for testing I'll be first in line.

  8. If this technology can be applied to help get paraplegics or otherwise severely wounded back upright and on two feet then I'm all for it.

  9. Maybe the DoD should patent their final product and make some money off selling this to the private sector. This would probably be a great augmentation for outdoor enthusiasts, paramedics, and construction workers.

  10. How are you going to stop the bleeding from an injury? I see no fast way to apply a tourniquet.

  11. This would be nice for female service members. Its not easy carrying all that gear when you’re 5 foot and 108 lbs. Especially if you’re on an 8 mile hump with the Marines as their Doc. Never had the honor of doing that but I know a few who have.

  12. People used to kill people with their bare hands. How will this man relieve himself? Is there a catheter or a colostomy bag?

  13. Can it be hacked and manipulated while a person is in the suit? That leaves open a potential threat to military and civilians alike.

  14. This could actually prolong the service of some of us with major injuries! If they could have it assist with spinal column stability and control to prevent further injury or collapse of the discs or vertebrae that would render some of us fit for duty!

  15. What happens when the enemy kills a soldier and steals the technology and our own defense becomes their offense?

  16. Smarter Than You | October 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply

    Wait till you need to defend yourself against someone wearing one. Like the cops who turn against the public.

  17. Today's troops are overburdened, but have far better equipment than I had in Nam. Whenever the Army has designed something, eye it with caution.

  18. Brian B. Mulholland | October 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply

    I expect we'll see this first in the hands of special forces, and designed to permit them to deplane well beyond the distance from which the aircraft would be audible in the area of the target.

    A not to the memory of Robert A. Heinlein and the power suits in "Starship Troopers."

  19. Hope someone is looking at how this might be exploited ….with all the additional gear can the metal/electronics or other components be picked up by sensors to locate soldiers wearing the gear and thus make them vulnerable to attack from mortars/ambushes/drone strikes? Will the gear produce a signature ELINT/SIGNIT that could be detected? Otherwise I am all for gear that will KISS and make the soldiers job easier and Protect

  20. I have worn a brace like that, they are uncomfortable and hard to wear over 8hours. I just hope they can make them comfortable. Can't see them being worn in the desert or jungle. Probably designed by a committee who have never been there.

  21. I say more bombs and fewer ground actions. Love the grunts but until we can find a way to get their mobility back and protect them better, I'd exchange world opinion for more and bigger bombs. – – ..

    They will continue to be the object of political nit wits in Congress and the White House who are more willing to send them into harms way then they are willing to pay for the damage done for the rest of their lives. – – ..

    Send more politicians into battle and less of everyone else. DANGER CLOSE baby, danger close.

  22. Look at the picture: all those loose straps on a rucksack… that's a NO-GO Soldier, fix yourself!

  23. Considerably, the story is in reality the greatest on this noteworthy topic. I agree along with your conclusions and will eagerly watch forward to your next updates. Saying good 1 will not just be sufficient, for the fantastic clarity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates!

  24. DARPA does come out with some really cool “James Bond” stuff. But not to be a wet blanket, but they do this every two or three years. Somebody at the top gets a bug up his butt to develop all this cool stuff and then it never gets funded and issued to the troops. Spec Ops may get this. Not a snowball’s chance in hell a regular grunt would, unless it’s gonna be 100 years in the future.
    A perfect example is the numerous replacement programs for the M-16A2. They develop rifles year after year that are lighter, more reliable and more functional for the troops (ie. the HK 416), and then they scrap it. The biggest innovation/change in 20 years has been adopting a shorter barrel and calling it the M4 across all of the services.
    But don’t forget that it’s perfectly OK to waste $5 BILLION dollars on camouflage that is only effective if you’re up against Helen Keller with a potato gun. Come on folks, how many times are they gonna try to pull the wool over our eyes……

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.