Lockheed Martin has once again channeled Ironman in the creation of a new lower-body exoskeleton. Built using the tech behind existing Fortisexoskeletons, the Knee Stress Relief Device (K-SRD) is designed to enhance soldiers' ability to carry heavy equipment on long, taxing missions.
The system works via sensors on the exoskeleton that measure how fast the soldier is moving, along with their direction and angle of movement. This info is fed to an on-board computer tasked with driving electro-mechanical actuators mounted in the knees.
According to Lockheed Martin, this system allows the K-SRD to deliver the right amount of torque at just the right time to cut the energy needed for soldiers to walk, squat or kneel. The system is said to be most noticeable when climbing/descending a set of stairs, or tackling steep hills while lugging a heavy load. In addition to military duties, it could also be used by industrial workers and first responders.
"Fortis K-SRD features military-specification batteries that are approved for infantry use, improved control box ergonomics and faster actuators that generate more torque," says Keith Maxwell, Fortis program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "These system upgrades resulted from soldier feedback on the initial design."
This is the latest in a growing list of smaller systems to be spun off from the full Fortis exoskeleton including the Fortis Tool Arm, which is designed to let workers handle heavy tools at odd angles for long periods of time.