‘Iron Man suits to be used in war’

A HIGH-TECH robotic suit similar to those featured in the “Iron Man” movies just got one step closer to becoming a reality.

The robotic suit developed by Salt Lake-based Raytheon-Sarcos is named XOS-2 and is designed to assist deployed soldiers by amplifying the user’s strength, endurance and agility.

A combination of sensors, actuators and controllers enable users to lift 200 pounds several hundred times without getting tired. Developers say the XOS-2 is also agile enough to allow users to kick a ball, punch a speed bag, or easily climb a flight of stairs.

Raytheon-Sarcos, a defence and aerospace systems supplier, revealed its XOS-2 has enough power to punch through four planks of wood at once.

But before the exoskeleton is ready for actual use, developers still need to cut power consumption by another 30%, said Fraser Smith, operations vice president at Raytheon-Sarcos.

Smith said the first target for production is a tethered version of the suit, which allows the exoskeleton to be used in a confined area while plugged in to a power supply. A more mobile version is expected to take another three years of development before it sees production, Smith said.

It has been designed firstly for combat where the suit can support heavy backpacks; and they hope to develop it further so a larger suit can be used by personnel carrying water, supplies and ammunition boxes or tank shells.

And how long until it can fly?

“We feel airplanes do a really good job, so this hasn’t really surfaced as a need,” Smith said.


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