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back to article MIT builds load-carrying mechanical boots

A team of researchers at MIT have developed a rather clever new twist on the conventional powered exoskeleton idea*. Rather than seeking to amplify the strength of the wearer's own muscles, the relatively simple MIT rig is intended merely to transfer the load of a heavy backpack directly to the ground, which allows very low …

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Bad Trade Off On Bad Terrain

I've hiked with nearly 90lbs in an oversized expedition pack in winter conditions through cedar bogs (ancient north pacific rain forest) and continued up mountains, hiking up rock creek beds cutting through the moss and soil forest floor and the snow and ice at higher altitudes. There's no way I'd ever trade off agility for load transfer. Agility has saved my life especially when agility is combined with limberness. There's no way a rig like that would allow the speed of correction required to save a hiker from a steep fall. That stuff looks like it'd be effective and safe over the same level terrain a wheeled suitcase would be. Lastly serious hikers hit endorphin highs where the heavy going becomes a light headed dance and, again, a rig like that isn't going to allow the fluidity of movement.

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Anonymous Coward

add a leg-driven dynamo,

and you could use the wearer to generate the needed power.

I wonder if that'd still save effort?

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Anonymous Coward

D'oh

Going up hill will be so much easier now we have 15Kgs of aluminium straped to our already heavy backpack...

Ok it might work on the level.. but were not invading Holland... yet...

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The problem is...

...that no matter how much whizz-bang technology DARPA et al invest in on behalf of their more active brethren, they will still end up being repulsed in their misadventures by a bunch of malnourished guerillas armed with not much more than Kalashnikovs, pointy sticks and an ardent dislike of the US.

Apropos these 'endorphin highs' of which exercise-deviates speak; when are they going to be synthesised and supplied to me in handy pre-packaged syrettes? Sounds like it would really shave off the rough edges of a monday morning. Especially as winter looms...

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Seven league yomping

Some years Daedalus DREADCO labs came up with the ultimate yomping rig - atomic powered seven league boots. Shortly after that, in 1974, a Russian engineer made a set of petrol powered boots that let him run at 22 mph:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/17/business/worldbusiness/17gazshoes.html?ei=5090&en=4a1e5cad7169ed42&ex=1331784000&partner=rssus

Dunno about carrying heavy backpacks though.

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@Gilbert Wham

"Apropos these 'endorphin highs' of which exercise-deviates speak; when are they going to be synthesised and supplied to me in handy pre-packaged syrettes? Sounds like it would really shave off the rough edges of a monday morning."

What you really want is an endorphin high with an adrenalin booster. The kind of thing a 180 lb pussy cat or a plus 500 lb boar bear can lend to an endorphin high. Jack yourself up with some of that shit and you'll be CEO by noon or in lock down. :)

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Not intended for prime time, anyway...

A lot of this blue-sky stuff isn't intended to actually be a workable product anyway. But the bits of the thchnologies and techniques may find their way into other systems that are more well-developed, at a later date. Say, forinstance, a suit of body armor that the user doesn't so much wear, but that walks *with* him, whilst surrounding him. i.e. the armor supports and moves itself, leaving the user free of the burden. Mind you, they'd need to come up with some pretty flexible and rapid movement adaptation to make it useful, though.

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MIT Sucks

Call me when they do something worthwhile....

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Bronze badge

Re: "MIT Sucks"

...Harvard boy, no doubt...

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but...

where is the add on minigun turret? or space marine esk armor?

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Pack animals?

What's wrong with goats or donkeys? Maybe camels in the desert?

Not cool enough? Doesn't go with the Oakleys?

Okay, let's spend a billion dollars then. It's more fun anyways.

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It all makes perfect sense

Firstly, they need the assisted load bearing ability, to deal with the obese recruits you get these days, and secondly, this is only the prototype for the fully powered suits which will also be completely remote controllable, allowing Americas Army (tm) game players to REALLY play at soldiers.

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